January 17, 2013
Credit: Image: Boeing
Airlines and safety regulators from other countries are following the U.S. FAA’s lead and grounding Boeing 787 fleets until the aircraft’s battery problems can be resolved.
Air India and LAN have suspended 787 operations in conjunction with their national regulators, and the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) is expected to issue a similar order. Japan’s two major airlines, Japan Airlines and All Nippon Airways, were the first to ground their 787s, and Japanese aviation authorities have since echoed the FAA directive.
Air India on Jan. 17 announced it will suspend operation of its six 787s after it was told to do so by Indian regulators, who say they will monitor an FAA probe into 787 safety issues.
“We have decided to ground the 787s following the FAA directives to U.S. airlines…Now these aircraft will fly only after Boeing proves the safety of [the] battery to FAA, in order to restart the aircraft,” an official with India’s Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) tells Aviation Week.
Two Air India 787s were airborne on international flights and are expected to land later on Jan. 17. They will be grounded soon after they land, the DGCA official says. The other four aircraft were on domestic operations and have already been grounded.
An Air India spokesman had told Aviation Week on Jan. 16 that the airline would wait for a report by U.S. authorities and act accordingly.
Meanwhile, LAN says it is temporarily suspending operation of its three Boeing 787s, in coordination with the Chilean aviation authority DGAC. Flights due to be operated by the 787 will be operated by other aircraft.
The FAA on Jan. 16 said it would “issue an emergency airworthiness directive (AD) to address a potential battery fire risk in the 787 and require operators to temporarily cease operations.” U.S. operators – of which United Airlines is the only one – must demonstrate to the FAA that the batteries are safe” before flights will be allowed.
The agency had already announced a “comprehensive review” of the 787’s “critical systems” on Jan. 11.