A Japan Airlines flight was temporarily grounded Tuesday after spilling 40 gallons of fuel while awaiting takeoff, officials said, marking the second straight day one of the $207 million Boeing 787 Dreamliners suffered a technical failure or flare-up at Logan Airport.
Officials called the inadvertent fuel spill concerning but considerably less critical than the small fire that hit a different Dreamliner Monday at Logan. But before the plane could be inspected and cleared to depart Tuesday after the fuel spill, it provided an unusual sight and an embarrassing one for Boeing and the airline: Two of the Dreamliners, out of a worldwide Japan Airlines fleet of seven, on the ground at Logan, temporarily out of service.
The first of Boeing’s high-tech 787 Dreamliners entered service in late 2011 after a series of production delays, and the plane has since been hampered by high-profile problems. On Dec. 5, the Federal Aviation Administration ordered inspections of all 36 Dreamliners in service at the time after receiving reports of fuel leaks on two aircraft operated by foreign airlines. That led to discovery of incorrectly assembled fuel couplings that could result in fuel leaks and lead to loss of power or fire, according to the FAA, though the issues at Logan appeared to be unrelated.
Normally, Boston sees one Dreamliner a day, during the turnaround between the plane’s midmorning arrival from Tokyo and its noon departure as Logan’s sole nonstop flight to Asia. But in an area known as North Cargo, adjacent to Terminal E, inspectors were still scrutinizing the Dreamliner that caught fire Monday when its fuel-spilling sibling passed by on the way back to the gate, each plane offset by the flashing lights of Massport Fire Rescue.
Massport’s aviation director, Edward C. Freni, called it an unfortunate coincidence that would not shake the faith of airport executives in the midsized Dreamliner, a fuel-efficient aircraft able to fly longer routes normally plied by larger, heavier planes too big for Logan’s runways.
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