Japan Grounds Boeing 787 Dreamliner Fleet Following Emergency Landing

Japan's two largest airlines have decided to ground all of their Boeing Dreamliner 787s after a Nippon Airways plane was forced to make an emergency landing in southwestern Japan.

The Telegraph is reporting that a battery problem triggered a cockpit error message, which forced the pilots to land the plane. Equally worrying: the pilots have reported being able to smell smoke from the cockpit. As a result, both Japan Airlines and Nippon Airways have decided to ground a total of 17 aircraft, which are now awaiting safety checks.

Japanese broadcaster NHK spoke to a passenger on the plane, who described the emergency landing of Nippon Airway's 787:

"I smelled something strange when the plane was going into a cruising altitude after take-off. I didn't see smoke... The plane then started descending rapidly and I thought 'this could crash'. I was surprised as there was an announcement that it was making an emergency landing at Takamatsu airport."

Coming in the wake of reported—but small!—fires and fuel leaks, the immediate future of Boeing's 787 looks a little rocky. Beyond the knowledge that some kind of battery fault caused the most recent 787 issue, it's not clear what the exact problem is. The US government claims to be conducting a review to find out what caused it—and in the meantime reassures us that it is safe to fly. Just, perhaps not on a 787. [Telegraph]