Tokyo: Japan’s biggest airline has started grounding its fleet of Boeing 787 Dreamliners after discovering a problem with the plane’s Rolls-Royce engines, in another setback for the troubled aircraft.
All Nippon Airways’s (ANA) decision to replace a key engine part, possibly on all 50 of its Dreamliners, was the latest in a series of glitches to have plagued the fuel-efficient plane since it made its maiden commercial flight — three years behind schedule — in late 2011, the Guardian reported on Friday.
According to the Nikkei business newspaper, the groundings were expected to lead to the cancellation of at least 350 flights on ANA’s Japanese domestic routes through to the end of next month.
The carrier cancelled nine flights on Friday, affecting more than 3,000 passengers and costing the airline an estimated $5,45,900 in lost revenue.
The problem came to light while ANA and Boeing engineers were investigating the cause of an incident in February, when an ANA 787 had to return to Kuala Lumpur airport after one of its engines overheated.
Inspections revealed damage to medium-pressure turbine blades in the aircraft’s Trent 1000 engines.
Rolls-Royce said it was “working closely with ANA to minimise the effect on aircraft service disruption”.
A Boeing official in Tokyo said: “We are aware of the situation and are working with Rolls-Royce and ANA to resolve any issues impacting the airplanes in service.”
The Dreamliner has suffered a string of problems in its first few years of service, including fuel leaks, battery fires, a wiring problem, a brake computer fault and a cracked cockpit window, the Guardian reported.
In the most serious incident in Japan, an ANA Dreamliner was forced to make an emergency landing in January 2013 after a smoke alarm went off in the cockpit.