787 Dreamliner battery problems come back to haunt Boeing in 2014

Just as Boeing thought its 787 Dreamliner battery problems and other glitches had died in 2013, Japan Airlines reports it has grounded an aircraft after detecting smoke that came from a fault in the main battery.

787 Dreamliner battery problems got so bad last year that Boeing was forced to ground all its 787s for three months. Japan Airlines says the latest problem was detected during routine maintenance.

Japanese engineers at Tokyo’s Narita International Airport said they detected smoke, and also reported that the warning lights flashed indicating there was something wrong with the main battery. There were no passengers on board when this occurred.

Boeing says it is working closely with Japan Airlines to resolve the issue. The company added that according to a preliminary investigation, a single battery cell had released gases, which triggered the warning system as it should.

787 Dreamliner fraught with problems in 2013

In 2013 Boeing’s whole fleet of Dreamliners had to be grounded because two batteries on different airplanes had overheated within two weeks of each other.

According to Boeing, the battery system was redesigned and the problem was sorted. However, nobody was completely sure what caused the problem in the first place.

Regarding the latest incident with the Japan Airlines plane, a Boeing spokesman said to CNN News “The improvements made to the 787 battery system last year appear to have worked as designed.”

Japan Airlines had several problems with its Dreamliners last year. In October the company had to turn around two aircraft in mid-flight because of technical problems. In one flight six of the seven toilets became unusable due to electrical problems, while in another the anti-ice systems failed.

In June, 2013, Japan Airlines had to turn around a Singapore-Tokyo bound plane.

In November, 2013, Boeing warned 15 airlines about the risk of ice forming on its Dreamliner 727-8 and 787 airplanes. Pilots flying planes using General Electric’s GEnx engines were instructed to stay at least 50 nautical miles from thunderstorms with ice crystals.