After Boeing notified several airlines that their 787 Dreamliners whose engines are produced by General Electric may experience icing issues, Japan Airlines immediately pulled our their planes from two international routes. This is another setback for the state-of-the-art planes that were grounded since January due to battery problems and JAL returned them to active duty in the second half of the year.
Boeing spokesman Marc Britel said they advised 15 airlines, including JAL, to avoid flying near thunderstorms that might contain ice crystals as this can decrease the performance of some of the engines. They recommended flying at least 50 nautical miles from any of the thunderstorms with the crystal formations. Upon receiving the notification, JAL immediately pulled out the Dreamliners from their Tokyo-Delhi and Tokyo-Singapore flights and replaced the planes with a different type. They will also be pulling out the 787 from the planned Tokyo-Sydney routes that would begin in December. But the Dreamliners will still be used for JAL’s other international and domestic flights that will be unlikely running into cumulonimbus clouds for now.
While General Electric is reportedly “working diligently” to solve the issue and to come up with corrective changes for the fleet, Boeing is putting down this newest problem as part of the growing pains of the new aircraft. At the very least, this is not as serious as the battery issue from earlier this year that caused one of the Dreamliners to catch fire and led to several issues with planes from JAL and another Japanese airline, All Nippon Airways.
[ via Reuters ]