Boeing 787 fire at Boston airport renews safety concern


The new jet also suffered an electrical fire during a test flight, prompting a redesign of electrical systems.

Boeing spokesman Marc Birtel said Monday, "We are aware of the event and are working with our customer." Other Boeing officials declined to comment. Japan Airlines did not respond to several requests for comment.

The Dreamliner is Boeing's first jet to be made of carbon composites rather than aluminum, a change that lowers the plane's weight and allows it to burn less fuel.

The jet was plagued by production problems that delayed initial delivery by 3-1/2 years. Boeing currently has nearly 800 unfilled orders for the plane and is ramping up production from five per month to 10 a month this year.

Yet since entering service in October 2011, the plane has repeatedly made headlines for mechanical problems. Last July, the FAA investigated an incident in which a 787 engine made by General Electric Co blew apart on the ground in South Carolina, prompting changes in how the engines are made, maintained and inspected. A similar engine failed on a Boeing 747 in Shanghai in September.

The Dreamliner's run of electrical mishaps began Dec. 4, when a United Airlines flight from Houston to Newark, New Jersey, made an emergency landing after it appeared that one of its power generators failed. United later said an electrical panel was at fault. On Dec. 13, Qatar Airways said it had grounded one of its three 787 jets because of the same problem United had experienced. On Dec. 17, United said that a second 787 in its fleet had developed electrical issues. Also in December, the FAA ordered inspections of 787s after fuel leaks were found on two aircraft operated by foreign airlines. The leaks stemmed from incorrectly assembled fuel line couplings, which could result in loss of power or engine fire, the FAA said.

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