2nd Boeing Dreamliner at Boston's Airport has Problems

5:12 PM, Jan 8, 2013   |    comments
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Nancy Trejos, USA TODAY

There is more trouble for Boeing's new 787 Dreamliner.

Officials at Boston's Logan International Airport tell the Associated Press that crews were able to contain a fuel leak today in an outbound Japan Airlines flight to Tokyo.

It is the second incident involving a Japan Airlines aircraft at Logan in two days. On Monday, an electric fire broke out in an incoming Japan Airlines Dreamliner after passengers and crew had already deplaned.

The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) on Tuesday afternoon said that Monday's fire started in a battery in the plane's auxiliary power unit, which is used when the jet's engines are turned off.

That Japan Airlines flight had just arrived at Logan from Tokyo around 10 a.m. on Monday when the electric fire was discovered by maintenance and cleaning crew.

Japan Airlines representatives told the NTSB that the crew detected smoke in the cabin and that Boston Logan Airport Rescue and Fire Fighting arrived on the scene.

Firefighters discovered a fire in the electronics and equipment bay near the power unit's battery box, the NTSB's initial report says.

The fire was extinguished about 40 minutes later. One firefighter received minor injuries.

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There were no passengers on board when the fire broke out.

The NTSB had three investigators in Boston examining the plane. The Federal Aviation Administration, Seattle-based Boeing, and the Japan Transport Safety Board are also looking into the incident.

In today's incident, Massachusetts Port Authority spokesman Richard Walsh tells the AP that the second 787 was towed back to the gate to be examined after about 40 gallons of fuel spilled. The plane had 178 passengers and 11 crew members on board, the AP reports.

Airport spokesman Matthew Brelis tells the Boston Globe that no injuries have been reported.

Flight 7 to Tokyo was slated to take off at noon, the Globe reports.

The NTSB will not be investigating the second incident, said spokesman Eric Weiss.

"It is a maintenance issue, not an accident," he told Today in the Sky.

By early afternoon, Boeing's stock dropped more than $2.50 a share, or 3.3%, to $73.57.

The highly-anticipated Dreamliner, made largely from carbon composites instead of heavier metal, began carrying passengers in late 2011, with Japan Airlines being among its first commercial customers.

During production, it was plagued with delays. And in recent weeks, there have been electric problems reported on United Airlines and Qatar Airways aircraft.

Boeing spokeswoman Loretta Gunter said in a statement Tuesday afternoon that "nothing that we've seen in this case indicates a relationship to any previous 787 power system events, which involved power panel faults elsewhere in the aft electrical equipment bay. Information about the prior events has been shared with the NTSB and they are aware of the details."

She added: "Boeing is cooperating with the NTSB in the investigation of this incident. Before providing more detail, we will give our technical teams the time they need to do a thorough job and ensure we are dealing with facts not speculation."

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