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TOKYO, January 16 (RIA Novosti) - Japan's Transport Ministry set up a safety commission on Wednesday to investigate why a Boeing 787 Dreamliner was forced to make an emergency landing that morning after smoke was detected in an electrical compartment.
Wednesday’s incident, which prompted All Nippon Airlines (ANA) and another local airline to ground their 787s as a precautionary measure, is the latest in a series of problems suffered with the new aircraft by several operators, including fuel leaks, electrical problems and battery snags.
India's flight safety authorities have also ordered checks on Air India's six 787s after the incident in Japan.
The ANA Boeing 787 was flying from Yamaguchi to Tokyo's Haneda airport, when the electrical instruments warned the pilots of a battery problem, after which a strange smell appeared in the cabin, followed by a smoke detector warning. The electrical compartment where the smoke was detected is located underneath the cockpit.
All 137 passengers and crew were safely evacuated on the ground using emergency slides at Takamatsu airport.
The Japanese Transport Ministry has classified the problem as a "serious incident" and sent the five-person investigation team to the airport.
ANA has already said it is temporarily grounding all 17 of its 787 airliners for technical checks, as is rival operator Japan Airlines (JAL) which owns seven of the type.
Another ANA 787 suffered a small fire last week at Boston Airport in the United States, when a battery box feeding the aircraft's auxiliary power unit ignited, Flight Global reported, citing the US National Transportation Safety Board. The fire was put out by a Halotron gas extinguisher, and all passengers were safely deplaned.
Several other incidents involving battery fires, brake problems and oil and fuel leaks were reported in January, causing flights to be canceled and delayed. Another 787 was delayed Sunday at Tokyo's Narita airport after a fuel leak was detected.
In July 2012, ANA temporarily grounded five of the 55 Boeing 787s it had ordered over worries about corrosion in their engines, but ordered another 11 in September of that year.
The problems are of serious concern to Boeing, which plans to build hundreds of the aircraft to replace previous generation 767s and had touted it as a high-tech plane of the future, thanks to its cutting-edge technology, such as extensive use of carbon-fiber construction to reduce weight.
Boeing is already looking into the issues as part of a probe by the US Federal Aviation Authority (FAA), which was announced on January 11.
"While the 787's reliability is on par with the best in class, we have experienced in-service issues in recent months and we are never satisfied while there is room for improvement," the company said on that date. "For that reason, today we jointly announced with the US Federal Aviation Administration the start of a review of the 787's recent issues and critical systems."
The 787 is a twin-engine liner capable of flying 250-330 passengers a distance up to 16,300 kilometers (about 10,130 miles).
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