Air India halts flights of Boeing 787 aircraft

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Associated Press

Posted on January 17, 2013 at 1:32 AM

Updated Thursday, Jan 17 at 3:05 AM

NEW DELHI (AP) — The Indian government ordered Air India to ground its fleet of six Boeing 787 aircraft Thursday after the jets were forced to halt flights in Japan and the U.S. because of safety concerns.

Aviation Minister Ajit Singh said he directed India's aviation authority to ground all the planes pending an investigation by the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration.

"Now that the FAA has said that they want to check (the) electrical system in all the planes we will ground them," he told reporters.

"How serious is the problem, how long it will take, we'll know only in a couple of days," he said.

India will not allow the planes to fly again until the FAA and India's own aviation authority certify them as safe, Singh said.

Air India spokesman K. Swaminathan confirmed that the state airline had temporarily stopped operating the aircraft.

The action by India comes after Boeing 787s were grounded in Japan and the U.S. after an emergency landing in western Japan highlighted a battery fire risk in the aircraft.

The 787, known as the Dreamliner, is Boeing's newest jet, and the company is counting heavily on its success. Since its launch after delays of more than three years, the plane has been plagued by a series of problems including a battery fire and fuel leaks.

Air India has ordered a total of 27 Dreamliners.

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