Fri, Oct 11, 2013 - Page 15 News List

Toilet, meals derail flight

AFP and AP, TOKYO and SAN DIEGO

A 787 Dreamliner bound for Japan was forced to turn around and fly back to Russia after toilets on the plane refused to flush, operator Japan Airlines (JAL) said yesterday.

The Boeing plane carrying 151 crew members and passengers left Moscow late on Wednesday for Narita Airport east of Tokyo, but returned two hours later, a JAL spokesman said.

GLITCHES

“It was hit by trouble — toilets became unable to be used and the device to heat meals also had a problem,” he said.

The glitches were believed to be due to an electrical fault, but had nothing to do with the plane’s batteries, he said.

The average flight time between Moscow and Tokyo is about 10 hours.

BATTERIES

Boeing’s 787 lightweight plane — hailed for its fuel-efficiency, but marred by years of production delay — was grounded globally in January after lithium-ion batteries overheated on two different planes, with one of them catching fire while parked.

JAL and its Japanese rival All Nippon Airways, the single biggest operators of the Dreamliner, have put their fleets back into service.

JAL resumed Dreamliner flights in June after fixing the batteries.

Meanwhile, a Boeing 787 Dreamliner headed to Tokyo was diverted back to San Diego because of a possible problem with the aircraft’s de-icing system.

NBC-7 in San Diego reports the Japan Airlines flight left Lindbergh Field shortly after 1:30pm on Wednesday, but the plane turned around and landed back in San Diego by 3:10pm.

Airline officials told the television station the pilot received an error message for the de-icing system.

The pilot made the decision to go back to San Diego so repairs could be made.

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