Boeing 787 Dreamliner Pulled From Two Japan Airlines, Or JAL, International Routes Due To Icing Problems In Engines Made By General Electric

on November 23 2013 12:27 PM
JAL_787
A Japan Airlines' (JAL) staff member walks past one of the company's Boeing Co's 787 Dreamliner planes at Narita international airport in Narita, east of Tokyo, on Nov. 11, 2013. Reuters

Japan Airlines Co Ltd, or JAL (TYO:9201), pulled the Boeing 787 Dreamliner from two international routes after the Boeing Company (NYSE:BA) alerted its customers to potencial icing problems in engines produced by General Electric Company (NYSE:GE), the airline said on Saturday.

JAL, the world’s second-largest Dreamliner operator, will replace the 787s on the Tokyo-Delhi route with 777s, while 767s will start operating on the carrier’s Tokyo-Singapore route, starting on Nov. 25, Bloomberg reported.

“There may be cases where we wouldn’t be able to go all the way round the cloud formation and we’d have to turn back,” Yuichi Kitada, a general manager in JAL’s engineering department, said, according to Bloomberg. “We’re at the first step of discussing a solution to this problem with Boeing and GE.”

GE is trying to come up with a solution for its engines because they “temporarily lose thrust in high-altitude icing conditions,” Bloomberg reported.

In October, JAL diverted two of its Tokyo-bound Dreamliner flights from San Diego and Moscow following electrical glitches that led to the failure of the anti-icing system on one flight and rendered six toilets unusable on the other. 

JAL snubbed Boeing in October in favor of its European rival, Airbus, when it ordered 31 A350 jets, although JAL said the decision to switch vendors had nothing to do with the Dreamliner’s troubles.

JAL was one of the first airlines to report burned batteries on one of its 787 planes, a recurring issue that prompted the FAA to suspend Dreamliner flights worldwide on Jan. 16. Boeing redesigned the battery system to prevent electrical fires, and operations were resumed in the second quarter of 2013.

Several carriers, including Japan's All Nippon Airways, Poland's LOT and Air India, have reported problems with the 787 since the FAA lifted the ban.

Another Japanese carrier, ANA Holdings Inc (TYO:9202), which operates the biggest 787 fleet in the world, has engines made by Rolls-Royce Holding PLC (LON:RR), and the carrier has not been alerted to any icing issues with the engines, Bloomberg reported, citing an ANA spokesperson.

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