On the same day one of its new Dreamliners made an emergency landing because of a mechanical problem, Boeing said US regulators had ordered the entire fleet of 787 jets to be inspected for a possible fuel line problem.
The twin mechanical issues, while not necessarily uncommon, were yet another headache for Boeing, a company still working to overcome the negative perception of production problems that delayed delivery of the 787 by 3-1/2 years.
Its latest problem involved a brand new United Airlines 787 Dreamliner with 184 people aboard, which was forced to make an emergency landing in New Orleans due to an undefined mechanical issue.
Boeing also said on Tuesday the US Federal Aviation Administration was requiring inspections of all 787s in service to confirm that fuel line connectors had been properly installed.
The checks were recommended after two non-U.S. Carriers experienced fuel leaks. Boeing declined to name the carriers.
Japan's All Nippon Airways, Boeing's Dreamliner launch customer, said on Wednesday it had reported the leak to the FAA and Boeing.
ANA spokesman Yoichi Uchida said the carrier found the fuel leak on Oct. 23. He said the airline completed inspections of all 16 ANA Dreamliners on Sunday, and that the work did not interrupt scheduling.
Local rival Japan Airlines Co said they too had inspected their six 787s and that flights were unaffected by the checks. It said it had not found any fuel leaks prior to the inspections.
Air India owns three Dreamliners.
The FAA requirement, due to be issued on Wednesday in an airworthiness directive, "makes mandatory inspections already recommended by Boeing," the company said in a statement.
FAA officials did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
Boeing said improperly installed fuel line connectors could lead to fuel leaks, loss of engine power or fire. But at the same time, it said there were "multiple layers of systems to ensure none of those things happen".
Boeing advised airlines flying the 787 to make inspections last month, and it said about half of the 33 jets in service have already been inspected.
The FAA directive was first reported by Bloomberg News.
The agency issued a previous airworthiness directive for the 787 and 747 in September, after problems with General Electric GEnx engines on those models. Such directives alert aircraft operators to a known safety defect.
NO FIRE IN PLANE DIVERSION
Separately, a brand new United Airlines 787 Dreamliner with 184 people aboard was forced to divert and make an emergency