A fresh series of troubles has hit Japan Airlines 787 Dreamliners, with two Tokyo-bound flights forced to turn around and another plane experiencing a minor glitch, the company said Friday.
The problems came just days after the plane-maker's rival Airbus swooped on long-term customer Japan Airlines (JAL), bagging its first order from the carrier in a $9.5 billion deal that challenges Boeing's dominance in the Japanese market.
In the first incident on Thursday, a Tokyo-bound Dreamliner was forced to turn back two hours after leaving Moscow when toilets on the plane refused to flush, JAL said.
There was also a problem with the device that heats meals, according to the company.
The glitches were believed to be due to an electrical fault but had nothing to do with the plane's batteries, JAL said.
The airline later dispatched a replacement Dreamliner to Moscow to pick up the stranded passengers, but that aircraft developed a problem with its anti-skid system, a JAL spokesman said Friday.
The plane was able to fly safely as the system, which works like an anti-lock braking system for vehicles, is not essential to operation.
However, the plane returned to Narita Airport, outside Tokyo, because the original aircraft in Moscow was repaired and its replacement became unnecessary, the spokesman said.
Meanwhile, another of JAL's Dreamliners on its way to Narita had to abort its flight and head back to San Diego after a problem developed with the anti-icing system on its right engine, according to the company.
The 135 passengers and crew were back in the air after a five-hour delay in which engineers replaced the faulty part.
Boeing's 787 lightweight plane -- hailed for its fuel-efficiency but marred by years of production delays -- was grounded globally in January after lithium-ion batteries overheated on two different planes, with one of them catching fire while parked.
JAL and its Japanese rival All Nippon Airways, the single biggest operators of the Dreamliner, have put their fleets back into service, but have encountered a number of minor glitches.
by Robert MACPHERSON © 2013 AFP
Date: Oct 11, 2013