Japan's transport ministry set to order 787 grounding

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Japan's transport ministry has confirmed that it will issue an airworthiness directive ordering airlines to temporarily cease operations of Boeing 787s in the country.

"We will issue the directive today. This will be the same as the US Federal Aviation Administration's directive," an official at the country's ministry of land, infrastructure and transport tells Flightglobal.

This means that Japanese carriers All Nippon Airways (ANA) and Japan Airlines (JAL) will have to ground their fleet of 787s indefinitely. Both carriers had earlier said that they were awaiting orders from the ministry on whether to further suspend their 787 operations.

JAL has since issued a statement saying that operations of its 787 fleet will also be suspended on 18 January.

Checks on the airlines' combined fleet of 24 787-8s are ongoing, following a battery malfunction on an ANA aircraft on 16 January.

The FAA had, on 16 January, ordered the grounding of all US-registered 787s until Boeing demonstrates that the lithium-ion polymer batteries on board are safe. This is to address a "potential battery fire risk" on the aircraft, it adds.