Qatar grounds a 787 as glitches pile up on Boeing jet

Fri Jul 26, 2013 4:46pm EDT
 
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By Praveen Menon and Siva Govindasamy

DUBAI (Reuters) - Qatar Airways said on Friday it had taken one of its Boeing 787 Dreamliners out of service following what it described as a "minor" technical issue, as pressure mounted on the plane maker over possible new electrical problems with the advanced jet.

The airline and Boeing Co declined to give further details but industry sources said they were treating seriously reports that the aircraft had been grounded for days after smoke was seen near an electrical panel.

The 787 has suffered a spate of mishaps in recent weeks, including a spontaneous fire on an Ethiopian Airlines-owned 787 that broke out while the plane was parked at a remote stand at London's Heathrow airport for eight hours on July 12.

According to Web-tracking service Flightaware, the Qatar Airways aircraft, registered as A7-BCB, has not flown since Sunday, an unusually long downtime for a long-haul jet designed to save on fuel bills.

Qatar Airways confirmed an aircraft had been taken out of service, but said no flights had been cancelled as a result.

"This is a minor issue for us, and not an incident, so we are not commenting," an airline spokeswoman said.

A spokeswoman for Boeing said, "We request that you channel all your enquiries to Qatar Airways."

Two people familiar with the matter, asking not to be identified, said smoke had been reported near an electrical compartment while the jet was on the ground in Doha. A failure in a similar bay caused a fire during a test flight in 2010, and three of the jets, including one owned by Qatar Airways, had electrical problems last December.   Continued...

 
A Qatar Airways Boeing 787 Dreamliner lands at Le Bourget airport near Paris, June 16, 2013, one day before the 50th Paris Air Show. REUTERS/Pascal Rossignol