Dreamliner scare again

Airport fire officers examine the Boeing jet.

NEW YORK — A fuel leak forced a Boeing 787 Dreamliner operated by Japan Airlines to cancel its takeoff and return to the gate at Boston’s Logan International Airport today, a fire official said, the second incident in two days with the new jet.

The leak occurred on a different plane than the one that experienced an electrical fire yesterday at Logan, said Richard Walsh, a Massport spokesman. That plane also was operated by Japan Airlines.

The fuel-leaking plane had left the gate in preparation for takeoff on a flight to Tokyo when the fuel spill of about 40 gallons was discovered, Walsh said. No fire or injuries occurred, and the passengers were taken off the plane, he added.

A spokeswoman for Japan Airlines, Carol Anderson, said the plane had returned to the gate because of a mechanical issue, but said exact details were not yet confirmed.

Boeing did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The National Transportation Safety Board, which is investigating the fire that occurred yesterday, said this issue wouldn’t warrant an investigation because there was no accident.

The Dreamliner is one of the most advanced planes ever built. However, a spate of technical issues has hurt its image.

Last year, a United Airlines flight was forced to make an emergency landing due to an electrical problem.

In December, Qatar Airways grounded one of its 787 Dreamliners after several manufacturing faults caused electric problems similar to those that affected the United plane.

Chief executive Akbar Al Baker told the BBC at the time that he was “disappointed because we have an aircraft that has just been delivered to us and for the last five days we can’t fly it”.

To add to Boeing’s woes, the US Federal Aviation Administration said in December that it had identified errors in the assembly of fuel line couplings, in the Dreamliner.

It warned that these errors could result in fuel leaking on to hot engine parts and start a fire, cause engine failure, or simply see the plane run out of fuel.

Boeing shares were down 3.2 per cent at $73.63 in afternoon trading. The stock fell two per cent yesterday. (Reuters)

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