Boeing 787 At Boston Airport Returns To Gate With Fuel Leak

by
Reuters
A fuel leak forced a Boeing Co 787 Dreamliner operated by Japan Airlines to cancel its takeoff and return to the gate at Boston's Logan International Airport Tuesday, a fire official said, the second incident in two days with the new jet.

Boeing 787

A fuel leak forced a Boeing Co 787 Dreamliner operated by Japan Airlines to cancel its takeoff and return to the gate at Boston's Logan International Airport Tuesday, a fire official said, the second incident in two days with the new jet.

The leak occurred on a different plane than the 787 that experienced an electrical fire Monday at Logan, said Richard Walsh, a Massport spokesman. That plane also was operated by Japan Airlines.

The fuel-leaking plane had left the gate in preparation for takeoff on a flight to Tokyo when the fuel spill of about 40 gallons was discovered, Walsh said. No fire or injuries occurred, he said.

The plane was towed back to the gate, where passengers disembarked and were waiting for a decision on whether the flight would leave, he said.

"The airline will make that determination," Walsh said.

A spokeswoman for Japan Airlines, Carol Anderson, said the plane had returned to the gate because of a mechanical issue, but said exact details were not yet confirmed.

Boeing said it was aware of the issue and was working with its customer.

The National Transportation Safety Board, which is investigating the fire that occurred on Monday, said this issue wouldn't warrant an investigation because there was no accident.

In December, the Federal Aviation Administration 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.

Boeing shares were down 3.2 percent at $73.63 in afternoon trading. The stock fell 2 percent on Monday.

Walsh, the Massport spokesman, said the leak was noticed at 12:25 pm ET Tuesday, as the flight, JAL 007, was taxiing toward the runway for takeoff. Crews used an absorbent to soak up the spilled fuel, Walsh said.

Some analysts had raised concerns about Boeing's jet after the JAL 787 suffered an electrical fire on Monday. Today's fuel leak caused further alarm about the impact on public perceptions of Boeing and the plane.

"We're getting to a tipping point where they go from needing to rectify problems to doing major damage control to the image of the company and the plane," said Richard Aboulafia, a defense and aerospace analyst with Teal Group, a consulting firm based in Fairfax, Virginia.

"While they delivered a large and unexpected number of 787s last year, it's possible that they should have instead focused on identifying glitches and flaws, rather than pushing ahead with volume production," he said.

Aboulafia said there is still no indication that the plane itself is flawed.

"It's just a question of how quickly they can get all the onboard technologies right, and whether or not the 787 and Boeing brands will be badly damaged," he said.