Timeline: Japan grounds all Dreamliners

Tokyo - Japan's two biggest airlines on Wednesday grounded all their Dreamliners in the most serious blow yet to Boeing's troubled next-generation model after an ANA flight was forced into an emergency landing.

The 787 Dreamliner has suffered more than a week of bad news that has prompted safety investigations by three national aviation regulators, although Boeing insists the plane is safe.

All Nippon Airways - the world's first carrier to receive the Dreamliner from Boeing after years of delays - said a battery problem triggered a cockpit error message that forced the pilots to land the plane in southwestern Japan.

Smoke

ANA said instruments on the Dreamliner had detected smoke in a forward electrical compartment, and Japanese Transport Minister Akihiro Ota said it was a "serious incident that could have led to a serious accident".

Both Ota's ministry and the US Federal Aviation Administration broadened existing probes into the Dreamliner to encompass the ANA incident. Authorities in India said on Wednesday they were starting their own investigation.

Both ANA and its rival Japan Airlines (JAL) - which are among Boeing's biggest customers for the Dreamliner - said they would ground their entire 787 fleets pending safety checks.

ANA has 17 Dreamliners in operation and JAL has seven, and both have dozens more on order in deals worth billions of dollars for Boeing. Australia's Qantas said it was sticking by an order for 15 Dreamliners for its Jetstar affiliate.

ANA said 129 passengers and eight crew were on board the flight, which was headed from Ube in the far west to Tokyo when it diverted mid-flight to an airport in Takamatsu, on Japan's fourth largest island of Shikoku.

Here is a chronology of major glitches to hit the high-tech aircraft since it entered service in 2011 after more than three years of delays:

2013

January 16: An ANA Dreamliner passenger plane makes an emergency landing in Japan after smoke is reportedly seen inside the cockpit. ANA said a battery problem triggered a cockpit error message.

-- Transport Minister Akihiro Ota announces an investigation and dispatches aviation bureau officials.

January 14: Japan's transport ministry says it has begun examining the Dreamliner that suffered two fuel leakages in less than a week.

January 13: A Japan Airlines (JAL) 787 suffers a fuel spill for the second time in a week.

January 11: US regulators announce an in-depth safety review of the Dreamliner after a spate of incidents involving the aircraft.

-- A crack in a cockpit windshield grounds an ANA Dreamliner after a domestic flight in Japan.

-- An ANA Dreamliner, also on a domestic Japanese flight, experiences a delay due to an oil leak.

January 9: ANA cancels a Dreamliner flight because of a brake problem.

January 8: A Japan Airlines 787 flight to Tokyo is grounded in Boston following a fuel spill.

January 7: A fire breaks out aboard an empty Japan Airlines 787 Dreamliner in Boston.

2012

December 5: The US Federal Aviation Administration orders inspections of all Boeing 787 Dreamliners in service worldwide following reports of fuel leaks.

October 4: General Electric (GE) recommends new inspections of its GEnx engines, used on some Boeing 747 and 787 aircraft, following the failure of an engine on a 747 operated by Air Bridge Cargo in Shanghai on September 11.

September 5: ANA aborts the take-off of a Dreamliner after what appears to be white smoke is seen billowing from the plane's left engine, believed to be due to a glitch with the hydraulic system.

July 31: US safety regulators announce an investigation into a GE engine failure on a Dreamliner during testing in South Carolina.

July 28: A 787 suffers engine failure during testing in South Carolina.

July 23: ANA says it is having five Dreamliner jets repaired for a defect in their Rolls-Royce engines.

February 6: Boeing says it has discovered a manufacturing error that requires repairs in the fuselage section of some 787 Dreamliners.

AFP

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