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787 Dreamliner turns back as six of its seven toilets fail

October 14, 2013 Aviation, Headline News No Comments Email Email

egtmedia59Airlines around the world flying the revolutionary new Boeing 787 Dreamliner are waiting keenly for various glitches and teething problems to be ironed out.

Jetstar received its first 787 last week, after lengthy delays. As one observer in the US pointed out recently, “the Dreamliner hasn’t been such a dream thus far”. Mechanical and electronic hitches, from overheating and fires to more minor hassles, have afflicted Dreamliners since their first flight – and it now seems that even lavatories are not immune.

The latest problem concerns toilets. An electrical glitch put six toilets out of action on a Japan Air Lines (JAL) B787 flight, leaving just one working. The sole functioning toilet was in desperate demand and the queue was lengthening. Having only one toilet working out of seven is more than a nuisance. The airline says it is looking into the lavatory problems.

The toilet anguish struck shortly after another of JAL’s B787s suffered a malfunction in one of its two anti-ice systems on a Tokyo-bound flight from San Diego. The system that failed prevents ice building up around the engine, so is pretty vital.

A spokesperson for JAL told the BBC that a similar issue forced a Tokyo-to-Singapore flight to turn back in June this year.

The world Dreamliner fleet was grounded earlier this year following battery problems, so the aviation community is watching the B787 and its well-publicised glitches very closely.

The issue is a major one for Boeing. Last week, JAL announced a USD 9.5 billion plane purchase deal with rival Airbus. It is the first time JAL has agreed to buy Airbus planes, having preferred Boeing for many decades. Analysts suggest delays and glitches surrounding the B787 may have influenced JAL’s decision.

Written by Peter Needham

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