787 glitches prevent two of first 10 long-haul flights

3 Feb


Boeing’s Dreamliner launch customer, All Nippon Airways (ANA) of Japan, had to cancel two of its first 10 flights between Tokyo and Frankfurt, Germany, the new jet’s first long-haul route that opened Jan. 21.

The glitches on the long-haul flights come after the 787’s relatively smooth entry into domestic service in Japan and on short-haul flights to China.

ANA spokeswoman Jean Saito said the airline canceled the Jan. 26 flight out of Frankfurt “due to a malfunction of the flaps system” on the airplane. The flaps are the hinged movable surfaces on the trailing edge of the wings that are deployed on landing and takeoff.

Passengers on that flight were transferred to another airplane. After the 787 was repaired in Germany, ANA flew the plane without passengers to its maintenance base at Haneda airport in Tokyo “to make sure everything was OK,” Saito said.

The Tokyo-Frankfurt route operates every other day, and the plane returned to service Jan. 28. However, on Jan. 30 ANA canceled another flight, this time in Tokyo.

Saito attributed this to “a temporary error in the computer software that monitors the controls of the aircraft.”

Saito said this was repaired by replacing parts of the computer system and reloading software. She said the plane returned to service Wednesday.

Boeing declined to comment on the glitches, referring questions to ANA. Saito said the airline is “working together and fully cooperating” with Boeing “to make it a better airplane” as the jet begins long-haul service.

The problems with the flights were first reported online by Flightglobal.

Originally, ANA planned to step up to daily flights to and from Frankfurt on Feb. 1. That was pushed out until March after delays in December in delivering ANA’s next Dreamliners.

To date, ANA has taken delivery of five 787s. The one on the Frankfurt route, Dreamliner No. 31, is the only one configured for long-haul destinations, with 158 seats.

The first four Dreamliners flying within Japan were fitted with 264 seats, although in April the airline plans to introduce Dreamliners fitted with 335 seats for domestic service.


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