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FAA review for Boeing 787 – updated 16 January

The US Federation Aviation Administration (FAA) has announced that it will conduct a comprehensive review of the Boeing 787’s critical systems, including their design, manufacture and assembly. On 16 January, two Japanese airlines grounded their fleets of Drealiners following a further incident.

This follows incidents with in-service aircraft, including an electrical fire, brake problems, and fuel leaks.

On 16 January, Japanese airline All Nippon Airways (ANA) grounded its fleet of 17 Dreamliners when one aircraft was forced to make an emergency landing because of battery problems. Japan Airlines followed suit, grounding its 17 787s until further notice.

The FAA says the purpose of the review is to validate the work conducted during the certification process and further ensure that the aircraft meets its high level of safety.

Industry commentators note that new aircraft often have some ‘teething problems,’ but incidents such as those the Dreamliner has experienced over recent weeks can affect the public’s perception of the aircraft and must be addressed as soon as possible.

A team of FAA and Boeing engineers and inspectors will conduct the joint review, with an emphasis on the aircraft’s electrical power and distribution system.

“We are confident that the aircraft is safe,” says FAA Administrator Michael P. Huerta. “But we need to have a complete understanding of what is happening. We are conducting the review to further ensure that the aircraft meets our high safety standards.”

"We also stand 100% behind the integrity of the 787 and the rigorous process that led to its successful certification and entry into service,” said Boeing CEO Jim McNerney in a statement.

“We look forward to participating in the joint review with the FAA, and we believe it will underscore our confidence, and the confidence of our customers and the travelling public, in the reliability, safety and performance of the innovative, new 787 Dreamliner."

Composite materials make up 50% of the primary structure of the 787, including the fuselage and wing.

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