The Boeing 787 Dreamliner has been grounded by the Federal Aviation Administration after an All Nippon Airways jet had an emergency landing, which eventually led to pulling the entire fleet out of service.
The Dreamliner problem this time has to do with its lithium-ion batteries, and the FAA wants Boeing to prove that they “are safe and in compliance.”
The FAA decision is devastating for airline carriers and Boeing. But part of the problem with the 787 is that it has several new technologies that have never been tested in the air before. The Dreamliner is also a new model that went into service in late 2011.
The problem started when a battery caught fire and forced an All Nippon Airways Co. 787 to make an emergency landing in Japan Wednesday. Continental Airlines is the only carrier in the United States with six in service.
“The FAA will work with the manufacturer and carriers to develop a corrective action plan to allow the U.S. 787 fleet to resume operations as quickly and safely as possible,” the agency said in the statement.
Air India, which operates six Boeing 787 planes, will ground its aircraft, Arun Mishra, Director General of Civil Aviation, said in a phone interview today. Latam Airlines Group S.A., the Santiago, Chile-based carrier, will also pull its Dreamliners, the carrier said in a statement.
The FAA didn’t identify what Boeing (BA), United or other airlines must do to ensure the plane is safe.
“I think the FAA really has a black eye in all of this because clearly they were falling down on the job,” said Mary Schiavo, a former inspector general at the U.S. Department of Transportation and author of “Flying Blind, Flying Safe.”
The last time the FAA took such drastic measures was in 1979, when it barred flights on the Douglas DC-10, after inspections had discovered wing damage similar to what led to a crash in Chicago that killed 271 people.