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WASHINGTON, January 11 (RIA Novosti) - The US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) announced Friday it was ordering a comprehensive review of the electrical systems in Boeing’s 787 Dreamliner jets, after several reports of small fires and electrical problems including two new incidents reported Friday.
“We are concerned about recent events involving the Boeing 787,” said US Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood at a press conference in Washington Friday.
“We will look for the root causes of these recent and do everything we can to ensure these events don’t happen again,” he said.
The planes will not be grounded while the review is conducted, officials said, unless they identify problems that could impact the safety of passengers.
“We believe this is a safe aircraft,” said Federal Aviation Administrator Michael Huerta. “Nothing we have seen leads us to believe there is a safety problem with the 787. We identify a safety problem, we will take action.”
A crack developed mid-flight in the cockpit window of an All Nippon Airways 787 domestic flight from Tokyo Friday, and the plane landed safely in western Japan.
Also Friday in Japan, another All Nippon Airways 787 was found to have oil leaking from the left engine of a plane en route to Tokyo.
Other incidents with the Boeing 787 this week include:
· A small fire in the battery pack of an empty Japan Airlines plane on the ground at Logan International Airport in Boston on Monday.
· A problem with a valve that caused another Japan Airlines plane to spill fuel at the same airport on Tuesday.
· A computer glitch that caused a problem with brake controls prompted All Nippon Airways to cancel a flight on Wednesday.
These problems and others have cropped up since the first Dreamliner rolled off the Boeing assembly line in late 2011.
“Every new airplane has issues at the outset of service. We are not seeing anything that is exceptionally unusual,” Ray Conner, president and chief executive officer of Boeing Commercial Airplanes, told reporters.
“Since entering service we’ve logged more than 50,000 flight hours and have delivered more than a million passengers to their destinations,” he added.
The Dreamliner, said LaHood, is “different than any other plane that’s ever been manufactured.”
It is far more technologically-advanced, a lightweight, carbon-fiber plane that is incredibly fuel-efficient and “represents the future of aviation,” said Huerta.
Although Boeing has sold an estimated 800 of its Dreamliner jets, only a couple dozen have been delivered so far, and there are plans to step up production significantly in the US this year.
The Boeing 787 Dreamliner has orders from airlines in more than 40 countries, but as of December it had delivered only to operators in the United States, Japan, India, Qatar, Ethiopia, Chile and Poland. Its biggest clients are United Airlines and All Nippon Airways.
Russian state airline Aeroflot has ordered 22 of the aircraft, while Russian private carrier Transaero has ordered four, according to Boeing’s website.
Kazakhstan’s Air Astana has ordered three 787 Dreamliners, while Uzbekistan Airways and Azerbaijan Airlines have each ordered two.
As the country that completed an extensive certification process of the Dreamliner before it was put into production, Huerta said other countries would likely look to the US to address the problems that have occurred, though most have been on non-US airlines.
“It doesn’t matter whether it’s a US airline or Polish or Ethiopian or Chilean, we are approaching this exactly the same way, every approach will be the same,” said Conner.
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