Boeing's 787 Dreamliner jet on Tuesday suffered its second mishap in two days, with the same airline and at the same U.S. airport – the latest in a series of setbacks that have heightened safety concerns over the new aircraft.
A fuel leak forced a 787 operated by Japan Airlines to cancel takeoff at Boston's Logan International Airport, a day after an electrical fire on another 787 after a JAL flight to Boston from Tokyo.
Asian customers rallied behind the U.S. planemaker, saying the incidents were glitches that can happen on new planes and confirming they had no plans to scale back or cancel orders for the aircraft, which has a list price of $207 mln.
Japan is by far the biggest customer for the Dreamliner to date, with JAL and All Nippon Airways (ANA) operating 24 of the 49 new planes delivered to end-December. The aircraft entered commercial service in November 2011, more than three years behind schedule after a series of production delays. Boeing has sold 848 of the planes.
State-owned Air India, which on Monday took delivery of the sixth of the 27 Dreamliners it has ordered, said precautionary measures were already in place and its planes were flying smoothly.
Air China, which sees the 787 as a way to expand its international routes, and Hainan Airlines also said they were keeping their orders for 15 and 10 of the planes respectively. China Southern Airlines has ten 787s on order and should be the first Chinese airline to fly the plane.
Delivery of the aircraft to Chinese carriers has been held up as the local aviation regulator has yet to approve the plane.
Other carriers already flying the Dreamliner are Ethiopian Airlines, Qatar Airways, LAN Airlines, LOT Polish Airlines and United Airlines.
Boeing shares fell nearly 2.7% on Tuesday, following a 2% drop on Monday - wiping around $2.8 bln off its market value, or more than a dozen Dreamliners at list price.
While many Wall Street analysts rate Boeing stock a 'buy' or 'outperform' - the manufacturer has delivered jets faster than the market predicted - some noted the potential for the combination of a fire and a fuel leak to affect public perception of Boeing and the new aircraft.
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