New 787 safety woes for Boeing

Posted on 15 Jan 2014 by The Manufacturer

Japan Airlines has grounded a Boeing 787 Dreamliner aircraft after detecting smoke that may have come from faults with the main battery, almost a year to the day the problem first arose.

The battery cell which appeared to be leaking was discovered during routine maintenance and raises new concerns  about the 787’s safety and reliability.

Boeing said early indications suggested a single battery cell had released gases, and that the warning system had operated as planned as a preventative measure.

The incident came nearly a year to the day after Japan Airlines and All Nippon Airways grounded their 787 fleets after two batteries overheated on two of the planes in less than two weeks.

After global regulators grounded the entire fleet, the 787s remained out of action for over three months while Boeing redesigned the battery, charger and containment system to ensure battery fires would not put the plane at risk.

The plane maker admitted at the time that it hadn’t determined what caused the problems, while conceding it may never know.