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Boeing 787 Dreamliners Grounded In America And Europe Over Battery And Fuel Problems

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Almost all airlines have grounded all Boeing 787 Dreamliners after a series of technical faults with the new aircraft, including electrical fires, battery problems and a fuel spillage.

Europe and the US have followed Japan in America's Federal Aviation Administration (FAA)'s directive, who said airlines must prove that batteries on board are safe and not prone to overheating.

The FAA is conducting an investigation into the aircrafts alongside Boeing.

Despite this, UK airlines due to fly Boeing's Dreamliner expressed confidence that the problems with the much-anticipated fuel-efficient jet will be ironed out before the first deliveries begin later this year.

Airlines in Chile and India have also suspended all Dreamliner flights following the FAA directive. Poland also decided to ground its fleet along with Qatar at lunch time on Thursday. LOT airlines in Poland had been planning to send one of its two Dreamliners on its first transatlantic flight from Warsaw to Chicago, in spite of the technical faults reported.

Ethiopian air executives are currently in meetings deciding whether to ground their fleet.

UK carrier Thomson Airways is set to be the first British airline to fly the Dreamliner, with eight 787s to be delivered in spring and the first flights due to leave on May 1 for Florida and for Cancun in Mexico.

British Airways has 24 Dreamliners on order for May, while Virgin Atlantic is scheduled to start taking the first of 16 Dreamliners in summer 2014.

beoing

A United Airlines Dreamliner takes off

British Airways is due to take delivery of the first of 24 Dreamliners in May, while Virgin Atlantic is scheduled to start taking the first of 16 Dreamliners in summer 2014.

Thomson Airways said today: "Boeing has reassured us they will do everything possible to assist the FAA in their investigation, and will be taking every step to assure passengers and Thomson of the 787's safety and get the planes back into service.

Virgin said: "We are working with Boeing to understand all of the technical issues around the aircraft.

"We have every confidence that Boeing and the relevant authorities will ensure sufficient oversight is maintained and that corrective action will be taken if problems are identified."

boeing field in japan

A Boeing 787 sits at the Boeing airfield in Seattle

BA said: We are confident that any safety concerns will be fully addressed by Boeing and the FAA as part of their recently announced review into the aircraft."

Japan's two major airlines grounded all their Boeing 787 Dreamliners on Wednesday after another of the new planes suffered a fault and was forced to make an emergency landing.

The Al Nippon flight to Tokyo was forced to land shortly after taking off after smoke was seen in the cockpit and an "odd smell" was also reported, according to the ANA.

nippon

All Nippon Airways planes including a Boeing 787, right, are parked at Haneda Airport in Tokyo

Although ANA is still investigating what caused the incident, vice president Osamu Shinobe told a press conference the battery was the same as one used in a plane that suffered an electrical fire last week at Boston's Logan airport in the US.

Five people were injured, reported Reuters, and according to Bloomberg one person was taken to hospital.

The airline then made the decision to ground all of its 17 new Dreamliners and Japan airlines followed suit with its smaller fleet of seven Boeing 787s.

lot polish

LOT airlines still decided to run the flight

The Dreamliner has been beset by a series of troubling technical issues recently, despite being hailed as the most advanced and fuel-efficient jet ever made when it was launched in 2011. British Airways currently have 66 of the new builds on order and there are 49 in operation, with United Airlines and Air India having six and five respectively.

However last week a brake problem on a Boeing 787 Dreamliner has caused the cancellation of an All Nippon Airways flight in Japan, the third fault detected on the jet in as many days.

The domestic flight to Tokyo was grounded in Yamaguchi after a light in the cockpit showed that the brake parts needed replacing.

Only days before a flight from Boston's Logan airport to Tokyo was cancelled after engineers found around 40 gallons of fuel had been spilled. The 178 passengers and 11 cabin crew on board had to be evacuated and while the plane was towed back to the gate, the cockpit and cabin filled with smoke, reported Sky News.

emergency flight

An Al Nippon flight was forced to make an emergency landing

According to a spokesperson for the airline the plane departed later that afternoon, despite the Dreamliner suffering what she termed a "mechanical issue."

Japan Airlines also had to contend with an electrical fire that broke out on an empty Dreamliner jet at Boston. No one was injured in the blaze, which officials claimed was caused by a battery in the auxiliary power system exploding after it overheated. A mechanic inspecting the jet after passengers had disembarked discovered smoke and raised the alarm.

The Federal Aviation Administration and the National Transportation Safety Board are investigating the incident, reported the Guardian.

"Even though it happened on the ground, rest assured the FAA is asking, 'what if it happened in the air?'" Carter Leake, an analyst at BB&T Capital Markets in Virginia, told the BBC.

Last year a United Airlines flight made an emergency landing after an electrical problem.

In the 14 months the planes have been in operation, there have been two other incidents including a similar electrical problem and a manufacturing fault.

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