Thu, Jun 13, 2013 - Page 15 News List

Dreamliner stalls for a third day

AFP, TOKYO and TOULOUSE, France

The new A350 Airbus long-haul carrier does a taxiing test at the Toulouse-Blagnac Airport in France on Tuesday.

Photo: AFP

Engine trouble grounded a Dreamliner in Japan yesterday, its operator said, marking the third straight day of problems for Boeing’s next-generation plane after months of difficulties.

While none of the recent issues was thought to be serious, they spell more misery for Boeing, whose flagship plane has been beset with delays and failures, most gravely a battery problem that kept the global fleet out of the sky.

In the latest incident, one engine on a 787 would not start after 141 passengers had boarded the All Nippon Airways (ANA) plane in Yamaguchi Prefecture for the flight to Tokyo.

A company spokeswoman said that the pilot had called off the flight after being warned of the problem by cockpit instruments, adding the cause of the malfunction was being investigated.

The glitch came a day after a Singapore-bound Dreamliner, operated by ANA’s rival Japan Airlines (JAL), had to turn back mid-flight because of a problem with the anti-icing system.

On Monday, ANA had to cancel a Tokyo-bound flight while the plane was at an airport in Fukuoka, after instruments showed the left engine was not functioning properly.

The incidents come only weeks after JAL and ANA, the single biggest operator of 787s, put their full fleets of Dreamliners back into service following a four-month suspension over battery problems.

Boeing admitted in April that despite months of testing, it did not know the root cause of the problems, but rolled out modifications it said would ensure the issue did not recur.

Since then, Dreamliners have experienced a series of minor glitches, including a fault with an air pressure sensor.

In related news, French aircraft maker Airbus on Tuesday said its new long-haul carrier, the A350, is scheduled to make its maiden flight tomorrow after having successfully passed a series of tests.

Airbus hopes the 314-seater will compete with Boeing’s 787 Dreamliner by being both lighter and more fuel-efficient than previous models.

The first deliveries of A350s to airlines are scheduled for the second half of next year. So far, Airbus has received 613 firm orders for the aircraft.

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