SEATTLE — Following two Japanese airlines’ actions a day earlier, the Federal Aviation Administration on Wednesday grounded the Boeing 787 Dreamliner until its batteries are proven safe.
“The FAA will issue an emergency airworthiness directive to address a potential battery fire risk in the 787 and require operators to temporarily cease operations," the agency said in a statement following a meeting in Washington D.C.
“Before further flight, operators of U.S.-registered, Boeing 787 aircraft must demonstrate to the Federal Aviation Administration that the batteries are safe," the statement added.
“The FAA will work with the manufacturer and carriers to develop a corrective action plan to allow the U.S. 787 fleet to resume operations as quickly and safely as possible."
United Airlines is currently the only U.S. airline operating the 787, with six airplanes in service. Japan Airlines and All Nippon Airways grounded their fleets Tuesday.
When the FAA issues an airworthiness directive on an airplane it has certified, such as the 787, overseas civil aviation authorities generally take parallel action to cover the fleets operating in their own countries.
The in-flight All Nippon Airways battery incident followed an earlier Japan Airlines 787 battery incident on the ground in Boston a week earlier.
The FAA’s order is prompted by the fact that both incidents “resulted in release of flammable electrolytes, heat damage, and smoke," the statement said. “The root cause of these failures is currently under investigation. These conditions, if not corrected, could result in damage to critical systems and structures, and the potential for fire in the electrical compartment."