By this morning, every airline in the world that flies Boeing’s newest aircraft, the 787 “Dreamliner,” has grounded the plane. USA Today reports:
Boeing’s Dreamliner woes escalated overnight, with all of its 787s now grounded. That comes after the Federal Aviation Administration issued an emergency order late Wednesday, instructing U.S. airlines to stop flying Dreamliners until they can prove that batteries on board are safe.
United is the only U.S. carrier to currently have the Dreamliner in its fleet, but European regulators followed with a similar call. By this morning, carriers from other nations that fly the Dreamliner also decided to heed the warnings issued by the FAA and others.
Other operators that have now halted service include Air India, Ethiopian Airlines, LAN (Chile’s flag carrier), and LOT, Poland’s national airline — it’s all very bad news for Boeing, which had bet on the success of this new aircraft in competition against Airbus.
One of the main concerns is that the Dreamliner’s lithium batteries appear to be prone to catch on fire when they fail. This makes the 787 just the second vehicle lavishly subsidized by the U.S. government which turns out to have inconveniently flammable batteries.