Shares in Japan Airlines rose Tuesday despite a fire on one of its new Boeing Dreamliners in the US, with investors relieved that the finger of blame was pointing away from the carrier, brokers said.
No one was hurt in the incident, which the airline said happened after all 183 people on board had disembarked in Boston following a flight from Tokyo.
But the blaze is the latest bad news for manufacturer Boeing, which has seen its flagship fuel-efficient Dreamliner hit by a series of setbacks and malfunctions.
The plane was being readied at a gate for a noon departure on Monday after arriving at Logan Airport in Boston from Tokyo at 10:00 am (17:00 SA time), when smoke was found in the rear cabin.
“The fire department was called and the fire was extinguished,” a JAL statement said.
“The smoke was traced to a fire from the battery used for the auxiliary power unit (APU) which was situated in an electrical room at the aft section of the aircraft.”
It said 172 passengers, including one infant, had been aboard the plane, along with three cockpit crew and eight cabin crew. They had all disembarked before the fire was detected.
“We're aware of the situation and we're working with the airline to understand more about it right now,” Boeing spokesman Doug Alder told AFP.
In an emailed statement to AFP, the National Transportation Safety Board said they had not opened a formal investigation, despite earlier reports they had announced one on their Twitter feed.
“We have sent an investigator to Boston to look at the aircraft firsthand and report back to NTSB to discuss possible future investigative options,” the statement said.
The Dreamliner was touted as the great new hope for US manufacturer Boeing, which says its next-generation composite fiber body reduces weight and boosts fuel efficiency.
But the incident at Logan Airport was only the latest in a series of glitches for the aircraft, including test engine trouble in July that was the subject of a probe by the National Transportation Safety Board.
On July 23, Japan's All Nippon Airways said it was grounding five 787 Dreamliner jets for repairs because of a defect on the Rolls-Royce engine.
In February, Boeing said around 55 Dreamliners were at risk of developing a fuselage problem.
Dow Jones Newswires reported that electrical problems prompted an emergency landing in New Orleans by a United Continental flight recently.
ANA, the first company to take delivery of a Dreamliner, began offering flights on the jet in October 2011.
On the Tokyo market, shares in JAL were up 1.06 percent in early afternoon trade, at 3,780 yen, as investors breathed a sigh of relief that the airline did not appear to be at fault, brokers said.
Tatsunori Kawai, chief strategist at kabu.com Securities, said incidents involving planes can be troubling for stock prices.
“In this case, the plane was reportedly parked and nobody was hurt, so most likely any blame will be placed on Boeing,” he said, according to Dow Jones Newswires.
But he cautioned that long-term passenger confidence could take a hit.
“Only time will tell how ridership may be affected, however,” he said. - Sapa-AFP