Japanese Ministry To Probe JAL 787 Fuel Leaks

January 14, 2013

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Japan’s transport ministry has launched an investigation into what caused two fuel leaks on a Boeing 787 Dreamliner jet owned by Japan Airlines, just days after US authorities began a wide-ranging review of the aircraft in the wake of a series of incidents, including a battery fire.

Over the weekend, the JAL-operated jet, which was undergoing checks in Japan following a fuel leak at Boston airport in the United States last week, again leaked fuel during tests. Both leaks were due to separate valve-related problems.

"Given the fuel leakage incidents occurred in succession, the minister directed the aviation director of the Regional Civil Aviation Bureau to open an investigation and find the causes of the two leaks as soon as possible," the ministry said in a statement on Monday, adding it was in contact with Boeing and the US Federal Aviation Administration.

Announcing their review on Friday, US transportation officials, and Boeing, said the aircraft was safe to fly, but they needed to take a comprehensive look at the plane to ensure there were no flaws that should be remedied.

Japan is the biggest market so far for the 787, with JAL and local rival All Nippon Airways flying 24 of the 50 planes delivered to date.

A series of incidents last week - the fuel leaks, battery fire, wiring problem, brake computer problem and cracked cockpit window - have focused intense scrutiny on the new plane.

While many of the mishaps are considered routine for a new plane entering service, their occurrence in quick succession on an aircraft boasting major new technology has sparked concerns about its safety.