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Japan Airlines reports fuel leak in beleaguered Boeing Dreamliner

January 13, 2013|By Tiffany Hsu
  • A Boeing 787 Dreamliner. The aircraft has had a tough week, with Japan Airlines saying Sunday that a plane undergoing tests was leaking fuel.
A Boeing 787 Dreamliner. The aircraft has had a tough week, with Japan Airlines… (Eric Kayne / Houston Chronicle )

More bad news for Boeing Co.: Japan Airlines Co. said Sunday tests on a Boeing 787 Dreamliner jet showed the plane leaking fuel.

The airline, known as JAL, was performing maintenance work on the aircraft after it was spotted spilling nearly 30 gallons of fuel onto the taxiway at Boston’s Logan International Airport on Tuesday.

While being examined at the Narita International Airport near Tokyo, the grounded plane began to leak fuel from a nozzle on the left wing, JAL said in a memo.

“Appropriate inspections will be carried out,” according to the memo, which added “the reason for the leak is being investigated.”

It is unclear when the plane will return to service.

“We are aware of the event and are working with our customer,” Boeing spokesman Marc Birtel said in an email Sunday.

Days earlier, a fire broke out on the underbelly of another JAL Dreamliner vessel after passengers and crew members had already deplaned.

And on Friday, All Nippon Airways Co. reported glitches on two separate Dreamliners.

In one flight from Tokyo to Matsuyama in western Japan, a crack formed in the cockpit’s windscreen. The plane landed safety but its return trip to Tokyo was canceled. Later, All Nippon said it canceled another Dreamliner’s return flight to Tokyo from southern Japan after oil was discovered leaking from its engine.

Boeing touts its Dreamliner, which entered service in 2011 after years of production delays, as an innovative next-generation jet. But the mega-plane has been beset by problems this week, culminating in the Federal Aviation Administration’s announcement Friday that it would conduct a “comprehensive safety review” of the aircraft’s design and assembly.

The examination, however, will not ground the 50 Dreamliners operated by eight international airlines. Each plane, which government regulators and Boeing say are safe, costs more than $200 million.

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