Airlines

Nearly Half of Boeing Dreamliners Grounded

Had two safety issues in a week

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Two Japanese airliners have grounded their Boeing 787 Dreamliners after an overheated battery aboard an All Nippon Airlines flight forced pilots to make an emergency landing Wednesday. It was the second significant issue involving the batteries on the Dreamliner in the past week, and suggests electrical problems with the all-new composite airliner could run deeper than first believed.

The decisions by ANA and Japan Airliners to ground their planes pending an investigation means 24 of the 50 Dreamliners that Boeing has delivered thus far are idle, and indicates the company may be facing a more serious issue than the routine glitches experienced with all new airliners.

The latest problem occurred aboard ANA Flight 692, a domestic flight bound for Tokyo, when a warning in the cockpit indicated a problem with a battery and the pilots reported smelling smoke. The plane landed safely at Takamatsu airport in western Japan; the 137 passengers and crew evacuated via emergency slides. Fire crews found no evidence of a fire, according to Japanese television station NHK. ANA immediately grounded its fleet of 17 Dreamliners; Japan Airlines then idled its seven Dreamliners.