Tue, Jan 15, 2013 - Page 15 News List

JAL, others experience Boeing mishaps

Reuters, TOKYO and SEATTLE, WASHINGTON

Japan Airlines Co (JAL) on Sunday said that a Boeing Co 787 Dreamliner jet undergoing checks in Tokyo following a fuel leak at a Boston airport last week had leaked fuel during tests earlier in the day.

An open valve on the aircraft caused fuel to leak from a nozzle on the left wing used to remove fuel, a company spokeswoman said. The jet is out of service after spilling about 150 liters of fuel onto the airport taxiway in Boston due to a separate valve-related problem.

In Boston, a different valve on the plane opened, causing fuel to flow from the center tank to the left main tank. When that tank filled up, it overflowed into a surge tank and out through a vent. The spill happened as the plane was taxiing for takeoff on a flight to Tokyo on Tuesday last week. It made the flight about four hours later.

The causes of both incidents are unknown, the JAL spokeswoman added. There is no timetable for the plane to return to service.

“We are aware of the event and are working with our customer,” Boeing spokesman Marc Birtel said of the leak in Tokyo.

On Friday, the US government ordered a wide-ranging review of Boeing’s 787 Dreamliner, citing concern over a battery that caught fire on Jan. 7 on a JAL plane in Boston and other problems. The US government and Boeing insisted the passenger jet remained safe to fly.

The eight airlines that operate the 50 Dreamliners delivered so far have expressed support for it, saying the mishaps are teething problems common with most new airplanes and that the 787’s fuel savings make it an important addition to their fleets. JAL and local rival All Nippon Airways Co fly 24 Dreamliners.

The review follows a slew of incidents that have focused intense scrutiny on the new plane. Last month, a 787 operated by United Airlines was forced to land in New Orleans, Mississippi, after a warning light in the cockpit indicated a generator had failed.

Boeing later said a faulty circuit board produced in Mexico and supplied by UTC Aerospace Systems, a unit of United Technologies, had produced a false reading in the cockpit. A UTC Aerospace spokesman declined to comment.

Also last month, two other 787s suffered problems with electrical panels. On Dec. 5, US regulators said there was a manufacturing fault in 787 fuel lines and advised operators to make extra inspections to guard against engine failures. A week ago, the plane had seven reported incidents, ranging from the fire to a cracked cockpit window.

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