The 787, which Boeing calls the "Dreamliner," is the aircraft maker's newest and most technologically advanced airliner. It relies more than any other modern airliner on electrical signals to help power nearly everything the plane does. It's also the first Boeing plane to use rechargeable lithium ion batteries, which charge faster and can be molded to space-saving shapes compared with other airplane batteries. The plane is made with lightweight composite materials instead of aluminum.
A fire ignited Monday in the battery pack of an auxiliary power unit on an empty Japan Airlines 787 as the plane sat on the tarmac at Boston's Logan International Airport. It took firefighters 40 minutes to put out the blaze. Also this week, a fuel leak delayed a flight from Boston to Tokyo of another Japan Airlines 787.
On Friday, Japan's All Nippon Airways reported two new cases of problems with the planes. Airline spokeswoman Ayumi Kunimatsu said a small amount of oil was discovered leaking from the left engine of a 787 on a flight from southern Japan's Miyazaki airport to Tokyo.
The jet returned to Miyazaki, but after inspectors found no safety risk, it flew on to Tokyo. The airline said that on another flight, to Matsuyama on the island of Shikoku, glass in a cockpit window cracked, and the aircraft was grounded for repairs.
Boeing has insisted the 787's problems are no worse than those of its 777 series when it was new in the mid-1990s. That plane is now one of Boeing's top-sellers and is well-liked by airlines.