BOSTON (CBS) – Monday’s small jet fire at Logan Airport has big implications for international travel and its manufacturer, Boeing.
Japan Airlines was preparing the new 787 Dreamliner for a return flight from Boston to Tokyo when a small electrical fire broke out. No passengers or crew were on the plane at the time.
JAL was the first airline to use the lighter long-distance jet along the Asia route and provide the first non-stop flight from New England to Asia.
The plane has been taken out of service while The Federal Aviation Administration and The National Transportation Safety Board review the incident. It is currently in a hanger in Logan’s North Cargo area.
Logan Airport is operated by The Massachusetts Port Authority whose fire and rescue equipment responded to Terminal E, where the plane was parked at a gate, within two minutes after being notified of the fire.
Boeing expected to have another Boeing 787 Dreamliner operating on its Boston schedule today. Over 150 passengers had to be rebooked for the trip to Japan.
The new Boeing jet has experienced problems with its electrical equipment before.
Japan Airlines started Boston to Tokyo flights in April and its daily flights have given the city a major tourism boost.
Massport has been working on expanding its flights to Asia. The next step could be flights to China that could begin in 2014.
For Boeing, the stakes are high as it battles Airbus for the number one spot in new aircraft deliveries. Boeing held that title in 2012. Aircraft manufacturing is the number one export of the United States.
Delivery of the Dreamliner was delayed by problems for over three years.
Incidents on new aircrafts take place from time-to-time; but an electrical fire, when the plane is on the ground, is rare.
Additional international tourism promotion by Massport and the state office of travel and tourism is expected to be increased by $5 million this year to support overseas airline routes from Boston.
The daily flights between Boston and Tokyo have averaged about 150 passengers a day. Japan Airlines has said that the flights have more than met their expectations this past year.
News of the fire made the evening network TV news and was front page news in “The Wall Street Journal.”
Bob Weiss reports on travel for WBZ NewsRadio 1030