01/16/2013, 00.00
JAPAN - ASIA

Tokyo suspends all Boeing 787 for safety concerns

The ANA stops the flights of 17 Dreamliners, Japan Airlines stops all flights for today. A Boeing 787 was in danger of catching fire. A long series of incidents hampers new plane, built with carbon compounds to consume less fuel. But there are many problems. The dilemma for the airlines.

Tokyo (AsiaNews / Agencies) - Japan's two major airlines have decided today to ground all Boeing 787s after an emergency landing of Dremliner jet carrying passengers.

The Boeing 787 is the leader in commercial flights, but a series of accidents has highlighted growing concerns about its safety.

All Nippon Airways Co (ANA) today decided to ground 17 of its 787s, Japan Airlines has suspended all its flights for today. Both companies use half of the 50 Dreamliners previously supplied by Boeing.

According to an ANA report this morning, flight 692 from Yamaguchi (west) to Haneda (near Tokyo), at one point showed a problem with the battery forcing an emergency landing. The battery is the same type that last week caused a fire on a Dremliner in the United States.

The pilots have confirmed to ANA they smelled smoke in the cabin, followed by an electronic warning. All 129 passengers were evacuated through the emergency slides.

Today's incident is the latest in a long series of problems to hit the new Dreamliner. The sophisticated aircraft - the world's first built with carbon compounds to use less fuel - has suffered fuel leaks, fires, battery malfunctions, electrical problems, breakdowns of the on-board computer, cracked cabin windshields, etc..

Marc Birtel, spokesman for Boeing, told Reuters that the company is aware of what has happened and is working with its customers.

Different airlines that have bought the Boeing 787 so far are studying what to do. The Australian company Qantas said it would continue to purchase 15 Dreamliners. India, which already has five of them, said it will study the problems of aircraft safety.

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