All Boeing Dreamliners operating in Japan must remain grounded until their batteries are confirmed to be safe, a senior government figure said Thursday, following a similar order in the US.
“Following the FAA decision, Boeing 787s will not be allowed to fly until their battery safety is assured,” said Hiroshi Kajiyama, Japan’s vice-transport minister, adding that a formal order would be issued later Thursday.
The comments come after a probable battery leak emerged as the focus of the investigation into the forced emergency landing of an All Nippon Airways (ANA) Dreamliner in Japan on Wednesday.
They also come after the US Federal Aviation Administration ordered that 787 Dreamliners operating in the United States stop flying until a fire risk linked to the lithium batteries had been resolved.
Japan Airlines (JAL) and rival ANA – which operate half the world’s Dreamliners – voluntarily grounded their fleets after the ANA flight made an emergency landing in southwestern Japan.
Kajiyama on Thursday said officials probing the safety scare “reported that there are problems in the battery” and other parts of the plane.
“Just by observing with the naked eye, the battery showed abnormalities, but electricity-linked equipment is complex so we need more investigation,” he said.
Electrolyte leaks and burn marks have been found on the battery’s metal casing, ANA said, with officials from the Japan Transport Safety Board working on the principle that it overheated, Kyodo News reported.
“Liquid leaked through the room floor to the inside of the outer wall of the aircraft,” the agency quoted investigator Hideyo Kosugi as saying.