All Nippon Airways (ANA) and its rival Japan Airlines (JAL), the two biggest carriers in Japan, have both announced the grounding of their entire Boeing 787 Dreamliner fleets following Wednesday morning’s emergency landing at the Takamatsu airport in Kagawa Prefecture. Five day’s worth of malfunctions and problems with the new aircraft has now continued into a second week with a Tokyo-bound ANA flight landing after smoke was seen in the cockpit.
ANA and JAL are among Boeing’s most important customers, having placed a combined total of 111 of the new 787 Dreamliners. Following the news of Wednesday’s incident, both airlines announced they were taking the airplanes out of operation for safety inspections. ANA currently has 17 in operation, while JAL has seven. Spokesmen from ANA haven’t commented about the sightings of smoke, but they said a problem with the battery system resulted in an error message displayed in the cockpit. While the passengers and crew had to use the emergency exit chutes after the plane landed, none of the 138 people on board were injured.
ANA has said it is “aware” of the troubling series of incidents involving the Boeing 787 over the last week, but adds that it is not ready to comment about the emergency landing or if today’s malfunction is related to any previous problems. While some of the other issues have been relatively minor, such as a cracked windshield or a leaking fuel valve, the others have included a malfunctioning brake system and, even more alarming, a fire breaking out in the battery compartment just after a JAL flight landed in Boston. Flight regulators in both the U.S. and Japan are launching their own investigations, spurred by a growing concern from travelers.