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Thu Apr 17 00:22:48 SAST 2014

Two more problems hit 787 Dreamliner in Japan

Sapa-AFP | 11 January, 2013 13:59
An airport employee walks near an All Nippon Airways' (ANA) Boeing Co's 787 Dreamliner plane. File picture.
Image by: SHOHEI MIYANO / REUTERS

Two more problems hit 787 Dreamliners in Japan on Friday, including a crack in a cockpit windshield that grounded one flight, the latest setbacks for Boeing's flagship aircraft.

The crack was discovered after a flight from Tokyo's Haneda airport to Matsuyama in the country's southwest and comes at the end of a week in which three other planes suffered problems, including a fire and a fuel leak.

Operator All Nippon Airways said the crack, in the window on the pilot's side of the cockpit, caused no problems for the 237 passengers and nine crew on board, but added that the return flight had been cancelled.

ANA said another Dreamliner flight, shuttling between Haneda and southern Miyazaki prefecture, experienced a delay due to an oil leak from a generator, rigged inside an engine.

"We found an oil stain, not a dripping oil leak. It did not affect safety and the flight capability of the plane," an ANA spokesman said.

On Monday a Japan Airlines-operated Dreamliner caught fire after landing in Boston on a flight from Tokyo. On Tuesday the same airline aborted a flight after around 40 gallons of fuel spilled on to the runway in Boston.

The following day, ANA cancelled a regional hop in Japan after an apparent problem with the braking system.

Friday's glitch is yet another blow to the reputation of the Dreamliner, which had been lauded by US manufacturer Boeing for a high-tech composite fibre body that reduces weight and improves fuel efficiency.

But a series of delays in the manufacturing process have been compounded by a number of problems since the plane went into service in October 2011 with launch customer ANA.

In July last year test engine trouble was the subject of a probe by the US National Transportation Safety Board. The same month ANA said it was grounding five Dreamliners for repairs because of a defect in the Rolls-Royce engine.

In February, Boeing said around 55 Dreamliners were at risk of developing a fuselage problem.

Dow Jones Newswires reported that electrical problems prompted an emergency landing in New Orleans by a United Continental Dreamliner flight recently.

Undeterred, ANA said in September it was ordering 11 more 787s in a deal with a list price of around $2.68 billion that will eventually take its fleet of Dreamliners to 66.

The carrier, Japan's biggest by passenger numbers, said at the time all of the new aircraft will be B787-9s and are expected to be delivered between 2018 and 2021.

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Thu Apr 17 00:22:48 SAST 2014 ::