Japan Airlines (JAL) and All Nippon Airways, Japan’s two top airlines, said they had replaced a number of batteries in the 787 Dreamliners over the past months.
All Nippon Airways said it changed batteries 10 times. JAL said it did so in a “few cases”.
Earlier this month, a battery in a JAL Boeing 787 plane caught fire, while an All Nippon Airways flight was forced to make an emergency landing because of a battery malfunction.
The issues have resulted in the entire fleet of Boeing 787s being grounded.
Boeing, which has orders for more than 800 Dreamliners and competes against Europe’s Airbus, has halted deliveries of 787s.
The incidents prompted authorities both in the US and Japan to launch inquiries to try to find out what caused the battery problems.
JAL and All Nippon Airways said they had replaced a number of batteries in the 787 Dreamliners over the past months
However, earlier this week, Japan’s transport ministry said that safety inspectors had found no faults with the battery, leading to concerns that the planes might remain grounded for a while.
Some analysts have warned that Boeing may even have to go in for a major redesign if the problems are not related to the battery.
The fear is that any such move could end up being a lengthy one, depending on how serious the problem is, and may also require the 787 to go through a fresh airworthiness certification process.
After the incidents involving the JAL and All Nippon Airways planes, the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) said both the batteries had leaked electrolyte fluid and there had been smoke damage to parts of the aircraft.
The FAA has said that the airlines must demonstrate battery safety before flights can resume.
Airline safety inspectors have found no faults with the battery used on Boeing’s 787 Dreamliner, Japan’s transport ministry has announced.
Dreamliner’s battery was initially considered the likely source of problems on 787s owned by two Japanese airlines.
The world’s entire fleet of 50 787s has been grounded while inspections are carried out.
Attention has now shifted to the electrical system that monitors battery voltage, charging and temperature.
Transport ministry official Shigeru Takano said “we have found no major quality or technical problem” with the lithium-ion batteries. Shares in GS Yuasa, which makes the batteries, jumped 5% on the news.
“We are looking into affiliated parts makers,” he said.
“We are looking into possibilities.”
Airline safety inspectors have found no faults with the battery used on Boeing’s 787 Dreamliner
The safety investigation started after one of the 787s operated by All Nippon Airways made an emergency landing in Japan when its main battery overheated. Earlier, a battery in a Japan Airlines 787 caught fire while parked at Boston’s Logan International Airport.
Two weeks ago the US Federal Aviation Administration said both batteries had leaked electrolyte fluid, and there had been smoke damage to parts of the aircraft.
The FAA said airlines must demonstrate battery safety before flights could resume, a statement that effectively meant airlines had to ground their 787s.
Boeing, which competes against Europe’s Airbus, has halted 787 deliveries. Boeing has orders for more than 800 Dreamliners.
The 787 is the first airliner made mostly from lightweight composite materials that boost fuel efficiency. It also relies on electronic systems rather than hydraulic or mechanical systems to a greater degree than any other airliner.
US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has ordered a review of the 787 Dreamliner plane after a series of incidents put a question mark over the safety of Boeing’s flagship plane.
The review by the FAA will look at the design and manufacture of the planes.
It is not clear whether the planes in the air at the moment will be grounded.
An electrical fire, a brake problem, a fuel spill and cracks in the cockpit’s windshield have affected Dreamliner flights in the past week.
“We are absolutely confident in the reliability and performance of the 787,” Boeing spokesman Marc Birtel said.
“We are working with the FAA and our customers to ensure we thoroughly understand any introductory issues that arise.
“While we take each issue seriously, nothing we’ve seen in service causes us to doubt the capabilities of the airplane.”
FAA has ordered a review of the 787 Dreamliner plane after a series of incidents put a question mark over the safety of Boeing’s flagship plane
The Boeing 787 Dreamliner is one of the most advanced aero planes ever created. Much of it is made from very strong, light carbon-fibre composite material.
However, a spate of technical issues has hurt its image. On Friday, two new problems were found, adding to Boeing’s woes.
On Friday, All Nippon Airways reported a crack in the window on the pilot’s side of the cockpit. It caused no problems for the 237 passengers and nine crew on a flight from Tokyo’s Haneda airport to Matsuyama, but the return flight was cancelled
The same airline said another Dreamliner flight, shuttling between Haneda and the southern Miyazaki prefecture, experienced a delay due to an oil leak from a generator inside an engine
On Wednesday, ANA cancelled a 787 flight from Yamaguchi to Tokyo because of a brake problem
On Tuesday, Japan Airlines cancelled a Boston to Tokyo flight after about 40 gallons (151 litres) of fuel spilled
An electrical fire broke out on board a Japan Airlines Dreamliner on Monday shortly after it landed in Boston, following a flight from Tokyo
Last year, a United Airlines flight was forced to make an emergency landing because of an electrical problem
In December, Qatar Airways grounded one of its 787 Dreamliners after several manufacturing faults caused electrical problems similar to those that affected the United plane.
Last month, the head of Qatar Airways criticized Boeing over several manufacturing faults that have resulted in the grounding of one of its three 787 Dreamliner aircraft.
Boeing has delivered 50 of the 787s, starting in late 2011, and has orders for nearly 800 more. To get through the backlog, Boeing is increasing production to build 10 of the planes per month by the end of the year.
By comparison, it builds more than one 737, Boeing’s best seller, every day.