US regulators are ordering a comprehensive review of Boeing’s 787s, its newest and most technologically advanced plane, after a fire and a fuel leak.
The Federal Aviation Administration says the review will include the design, manufacture and assembly of the aircraft. Officials plan to detail the review at a news conference later.
The 787, which Boeing calls the Dreamliner, relies more than any other modern airliner on electrical signals to help power nearly everything the plane does. It’s also the first Boeing plane to use rechargeable lithium ion batteries and to be made of lightweight composite materials.
A fire ignited on Monday in the battery pack of an auxiliary power unit of a Japan Airlines 787 empty of passengers.
Japan’s All Nippon Airways (ANA) reported two new cases of problems with its Boeing 787s. A spokeswoman said yesterday a very small amount of oil was discovered leaking from the left engine of a 787 on an internal flight. Checks found no safety risk and it flew to Tokyo.
ANA said on another flight glass in a cockpit window cracked and the aircraft was grounded for repairs.
The airline cancelled a domestic flight to Tokyo on Wednesday after a computer wrongly indicated a problem with the 787’s brakes.
Boeing spokesman Marc Birtel said: “We are absolutely confident in the reliability and performance of the 787.
“We are working with the FAA and our customers to ensure we thoroughly understand any introductory issues that arise. While we take each issue seriously, nothing we’ve seen in service causes us to doubt the capabilities of the airplane.”
Boeing has insisted that the 787’s problems are no worse than what it experienced when its 777 was new in the mid-1990s. That plane is now one of its top sellers and is well liked by airlines.
Boeing has delivered 50 787s since late 2011 and has orders for 800 more. It is increasing production to 10 planes per month by the end of 2013.