WASHINGTON — Boeing Co. is alerting airlines about possible engine icing problems on some of its new planes, including its 787 Dreamliner. It is recommending that planes with a specific General Electric engine avoid flying near thunderstorms that might contain ice crystals.
Boeing spokesman Marc Birtel said over the weekend Boeing issued the advisory after ice crystal formation in some instances diminished engine performance. Airlines with planes affected include United, Japan Airlines, Lufthansa and Air India. Models affected are the 747-8 and the 787, which Boeing Co. calls the Dreamliner.
“To reduce chances of ice crystal conditions, Boeing recommends that operators fly at least 50 nautical miles from thunderstorms that may contain ice crystals,” Boeing said in its statement.
The advisory covers Boeing planes with General Electric Co.’s GEnx engine. In its statement, Boeing said that GE is “working diligently” to deal with the issue and that corrective changes “will be introduced into the fleet as soon as they are available.”
It’s the latest problem to confront the 787. Earlier this year, the 787 was grounded after two planes suffered from smoldering batteries. Flights resumed after Boeing redesigned the battery system.
The company assembles the 787 in North Charleston and Everett, Wash. The South Carolina factory has delivered several planes to Air India.
The GEnx has had other issues.
One of the engines failed during a 787 pre-flight test at Charleston International Airport in July 2012. That eventually led to a Federal Aviation Administration directive requiring all in-service GEnx engines to be checked for fan midshaft cracks.
A second failure occurred while a Boeing 747 taxied in Shanghai in September 2012. Because it failed in a different way than the North Charleston incident, GE recommended another kind of check.
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