Japan's two biggest airlines have grounded their Boeing 787s after one of the new jets made an emergency landing when a cockpit warning light indicated a battery problem and passengers smelled something burning.
The All Nippon Airways flight with 129 passengers on board landed in Takamatsu, on a flight to Tokyo. A couple of passengers received minor injuries as they evacuated the plane.
ANA and Japan Airlines have grounded their 787 Dreamliners for safety checks, and Japanese regulators described the incident as "serious." The two airlines operate 24 of the wide-bodied aircraft on international and domestic routes.
After the emergency landing, ANA Senior Executive Vice President Osamu Shinobe apologized at a news conference in Tokyo.
"We are extremely sorry for causing grief to the passengers, their families and those involved," he said. "We are sorry."
ANA says safety checks may be complete by Thursday. U.S.-based United Airlines and Poland's LOT Airline say they will continue to fly their 787s as scheduled.
The Boeing Company is slated to build more than 800 of the revolutionary, twin-engine, long-range planes for airlines around the world. Boeing's stock price fell more than three percent after news of the 787's newest issues.
◆ Spate of Incidents
Several recent problems with the 787 have already prompted U.S. regulators to launch a safety review of the aircraft.
Previous problems included a battery fire on a plane on the ground in Boston, leaking fuel, a cracked windshield, and brake problems in various planes.
Investigators and experts from the U.S. National Transportation Safety Board, the Federal Aviation Administration and Boeing are headed for Japan to work with Japanese experts looking into the aircraft's problems.
The 787 is the first major passenger aircraft to make so much use of composite materials rather than metal. Composite materials save weight, and Boeing says it uses 20 percent less fuel than rival planes of the same size. The plane also saves weight by using electricity rather than traditional hydraulics to preform many functions.
Aviation analyst Ron Bishop of Australia's Central Queensland University says Boeing is working hard to solve these problems and will probably be successful, adding that other new aircraft, such as Europe's Airbus A380, have also had to overcome a number of issues.
Wiring and engine problems, Bishop said, forced Airbus to delay deliveries of its massive four-engine, wide body A380.