Japan’s two leading airlines grounded their fleets of the Boeing 787 on Wednesday after one of the passenger jets made an emergency landing, an incident that follows a slew of problems in recent days with the new aircraft that include fuel leaks, a battery fire, wiring problem and brake computer glitch.
The moves will make Japan a test case for how customers of aircraft manufacturer Boeing respond to safety concerns surrounding the Dreamliner 787, the pride of Boeing’s passenger jet fleet, airline industry watchers said.
Japan Airlines (JAL) and All Nippon Airways (ANA) operate about half of the 50 new Dreamliners so far delivered by Boeing and focus is firmly on Japan and what steps Boeing takes there to allay safety concerns.
“The most number of 787s in service are in Japan right now, therefore that is a big market for Boeing. A lot of the existing Boeing customers will be looking to see what action is taken in Japan in particular before they decide what action they are going to take with their orders,” said Siva Govindasamy, Asia managing editor at Flightglobal, an industry news service.
“You can be pretty sure that 1-2 of those customers are already in talks with Boeing to see what is going on and to rectify any issues before they get their aircraft. That’s going to be very crucial right now, so the onus is on Boeing to take action,” he said.
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ANA said on Wednesday it was grounding all 17 of its 787 fleet, while JAL said it was suspending all flights scheduled for departure for the day.
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