LAN becomes fourth airline to ground 787s

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Chile's LAN will ground its three Boeing 787-8s, following plans announced by the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) on 16 January to ground the aircraft type in the USA.

The Oneworld carrier, the fourth airline worldwide to ground its 787s, says it is taking the action "in compliance with the recommendation" of the FAA and in coordination with the Chilean Aeronautical Authority.

"Flights that were scheduled to be operated by the 787 will be temporarily replaced with other aircraft in our fleet to mitigate any potential impacts that this situation could cause to its passengers and cargo clients," says LAN. "The safety of the operation and its passengers is LAN's top priority and the company regrets any inconvenience that this may cause."

LAN's move follows the FAA's announcement on 16 January that it plans to issue an emergency airworthiness directive to ground all US-registered 787s to address a potential battery fire risk on the aircraft type. United Airlines, the only US airline with 787s, is complying with the directive.

The FAA's action came after two incidents involving the lithium-ion batteries on two 787s operated by Japanese carriers. An All Nippon Airways 787 made an emergency landing on 15 January after a battery malfunctioned. About a week earlier, on 7 January, a fire broke out on a parked Japan Airlines (JAL) 787 at Boston Logan International Airport when a battery exploded. Both ANA and JAL grounded their 787s after the incidents.

LAN was the fourth carrier worldwide to receive the 787, and expects to receive its fourth and fifth 787-8 in mid-2013. The airline has an order for 22 787-8s and 10 787-9s. It expects to operate 14 787s by the end of 2014.