Japan's airlines back Boeing, as battery probes make slow progress
TOKYO (REUTERS) - Japan's leading airlines are firmly behind Boeing Co's 787 Dreamliner, saying they have had no second thoughts on orders for several dozen more of the planes - even as they have US$5 billion (S$6 billion) worth of the futuristic aircraft sitting idle pending a complex investigation into unexplained battery problems.
All Nippon Airways Co and Japan Airlines Co Ltd have been the biggest customers to date for the technologically advanced 787 jetliner, which has a list price of US$207 million and is about one third made by Japanese companies - from fuselage and engine parts to batteries and toilets.
US safety officials said on Thursday they were nowhere close to completing their probe into a battery fire on a JAL-operated 787 at Boston airport almost three weeks ago.
And investigators in Japan, looking into a later incident that prompted an ANA 787 to make an emergency landing on a domestic flight, have made little headway in finding out what caused a lithium-ion battery to overheat, triggering alarms in the plane's cockpit.