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More mechanical problems with the 787 Dreamliner, Boeing’s dream jet, have turned air travel into a nightmare for many passengers, as aviation authorities around the world ground their Dreamliner aircraft, a total of 50 planes.
The decision came after a Japanese All Nippon Airlines 787 flight was forced to make an emergency landing and evacuation yesterday. An aircraft alarm indicated smoke in the plane’s electrical component and passengers reported a burning smell. Hours after the emergency landing at Takamatsu airport, both of Japan’s national airlines – All Nippon Airlines and Japan Airlines – announced they were grounding their combined 24 Dreamliners pending an investigation.
This is the latest in a spate of mechanical issues that have plagued Boeing’s most touted airliner since July 2012, with the most high-profile failures occurring in the past week, including a fuel leak, an oil leak, two cracked engines, a damaged cockpit window and a battery problem. Since then, authorities in the US, Europe, India, Ethiopia, Chile and Qatar have halted operation of their Dreamliners.
This decision could potentially leave tens of thousands of passengers stranded. The 210- to 290-seat planes are typically used for high-capacity flights, affecting many passengers on cross-country or cross-global flights, some of which were booked months in advance. Passengers booked on Dreamliners can expect to face days-long delays, modified itineraries and crowded flights as airlines work to make alternative arrangements, including shifting passengers to other carriers and even other airports.
It is unclear when Dreamliners will be reinstated, but the Federal Aviation Authority has cautioned that Boeing must prove their batteries are safe before the 787 resumes service – a process which could take days or weeks.