With a Japan Air Lines Boeing 787 Dreamliner recently having its auxiliary power unit’s batteries catching fire, is the new jumbo jet a “flying nightmare”?
By: Ringo Bones
Maybe its just due to the inevitable technical “teething problems” of a new product being introduced into a rather “technically conservative” market of the currently financially austere airline industry, but probably all frequent flyers still hope that the glitches currently plaguing the recently introduced Boeing 787 Dreamliner won’t result in a rather tragic crash in a near future. Unfortunately as of late, certain shaken passengers and JAL executives back in Tokyo now harbor the impression that Boeing’s latest headlining product – the Boeing 787 Dreamliner – could be a “flying nightmare”.
With a much delayed rollout that its maiden flight only happened near the tail end of 2011, Boeing’s 787 Dreamliner had been plagued by a recent spate of technical difficulties that now endanger the plane’s long-term economic viability in the currently financially austere global airline industry. There had been only 46 Dreamliners had been delivered by Boeing to its customers so far, and now, 5 of them had been grounded for thorough preventive maintenance due to the recent problems experienced by a couple Japan Air Lines owned 787 Dreamliners.
Back in Monday, January 7, 2013, a Japan Air Lines operated Boeing 787 Dreamliner’s auxiliary power unit’s batteries caught fire while waiting for its scheduled flight in Boston which resulted in an emergency evacuation of passengers and crew. A few days before, another JAL owned 787 Dreamliner’s scheduled flight was cancelled due to a fuel leak. Fortunately, both harrowing incidences never resulted in a single loss of life, but will it tarnish the image of the Boeing 787 Dreamliner as a “flying nightmare”?
It seems that every relatively newly rolled-out plane tends to experience technical teething problems during the first few years of regular service. Back in November 4, 2010, Qantas had experienced problems with the Rolls Royce Trent 900 turbofan engines used in their then newly acquired Airbus A380 Superjumbo – i.e. the Qantas Flight 32 incident. Fortunately, the problem too was resolved by the plane’s heroic flight-crew with no loss of life. Maybe the Boeing 787 Dreamliner needs new “fireproof” batteries to prevent another battery fire.