SAN JOSE (CBS SF) — All-Nippon Airways has cancelled flights to Tokyo via Mineta San Jose International Airport through early next week to comply with an FAA order grounding Boeing 787 Dreamliner aircraft in the United States, an airport spokeswoman said.
The Japanese airline has been rebooking its San Jose flights to its larger Boeing 777 planes that take off for Tokyo from San Francisco International Airport and Los Angeles International Airport, said airport spokeswoman Rosemary Barnes.
The airline is also helping passengers affected by the recent cancellations to book seats on United Airlines flights to Tokyo or agree to delay their trips for future All-Nippon flights, Barnes said.
“We have no further word on when they will resume,” Barnes said “They are still investigating their 787 Dreamliner service.”
All-Nippon today announced it had cancelled 320 flights, including 51 international flights, on 787s affecting a total of 46,800 passengers, Barnes said.
The flights to and from San Jose and Tokyo are cancelled through at least Jan. 28, Barnes said.
The airport “is supportive of (All-Nippon Airways’) decision to put passenger safety first,” Barnes said.
The airline opted to put the newer model 787 planes in service to San Jose because the 787 holds 158 passengers, is lighter and uses less fuel than its 300-seat Boeing 777s, Barnes said.
The FAA last Wednesday issued an emergency order to all U.S.-registered airlines to stop flying 787s until operators can prove that lithium ion batteries used on the planes are safe.
The agency said the order was needed to address the potential fire risk based on two incidents this month when batteries were blamed for heat damage and smoke inside 787s.
All-Nippon, in compliance with the FAA, started canceling flights to San Jose last Wednesday when it grounded 17 Dreamliners, Barnes said.
All-Nippon debuted its new five flights per week international service from San Jose airport to Tokyo on the 787 to great local fanfare in San Jose on Jan. 11.
The maiden flight reached Tokyo without incident just as the FAA announced a comprehensive review of the 787 after a fire from a battery failure on Jan. 7 and a fuel leak on Jan. 8 that grounded 787s owned by Japan Airways in Boston.
On Jan. 9, a computer malfunction on an All-Nippon 787 during a domestic flight in Japan prompted the airline to cancel the flight.
Then on Jan. 15, another battery failure on a 787 All-Nippon flight in Japan forced the pilot to land and passengers and crew had to use emergency slides to get out, according to FAA officials.
All-Nippon then suspended its fleet of 787s used for domestic flights in Japan, which are out the FAA’s jurisdiction.
The FAA started its review of the 787’s design, manufacture and assembly on Jan. 11 and made the grounding order after the Jan. 15 battery failure in Japan, the agency said on its website.
The FAA “will work with the manufacturer and carriers to develop a corrective action to allow the U.S. 787 fleet to resume operations as quickly and safely as possible,” the agency reported.
The only U.S.-based airline that uses 787s is United Airlines, which has six of the grounded planes, the FAA said.
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