January 16, 2013
The Federal Aviation Administration said today it will issue an emergency airworthiness directive requiring operators to temporarily cease operations of their Boeing (NYSE: BA ) 787 Dreamliners.
According to the FAA statement, this action comes after an in-flight incident in Japan earlier today involving a lithium ion battery and the potential for battery-fire risk. This is the second 787 incident involving a lithium ion battery releasing flammable electrolytes that caused heat damage and smoke. The earlier incident occurred on the ground in Boston on Jan. 7.
An investigation into the underlying causes of the battery malfunctions is currently under way. If not corrected, malfunctioning batteries could cause damage to critical systems and structures.
Before operators of U.S.-registered 787s can resume service, they will have to demonstrate to the FAA that the batteries are safe. United Airlines, a subsidiary of United Continental Holdings (NYSE: UAL ) , is the only U.S. airline currently operating the 787. It has six of the planes.
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