Leaking fuel tank grounds TUI plane; Inspectorate investigates

TUI Airlines Netherlands, PH-TFL, Boeing 787-8 Dreamliner
TUI Airlines Netherlands, PH-TFL, Boeing 787-8 DreamlinerPhoto: Anna Zvereva / Wikimedia Commons

A Boeing Dreamliner's leaking fuel tank grounded a TUI flight from Schiphol to the Dominican Republic and Jamaica early this year. The Human Environment and Transport Inspectorate launched an investigation, as this is not the first Dreamliner to have fuel tank problems, AD reports.

The incident happened on January 19th. Shortly before departure from Schiphol, it was discovered that the Dreamliner was dripping kerosene. The passengers were already on the plane, preparing for takeoff. 

The TUI crew immediately turned the engines off and passengers disembarked. "At no time was there any danger for the passengers and crew", Petra Kok of TUI said to the newspaper. "Safety in the air is our greatest priority. In the end it turned out to be a relatively innocent defect, but we did not know that beforehand and safety takes precedence over punctuality."

The fuel tank was emptied and an extensive inspection took place. According to TUI, the leak was caused by a production error at Boeing. Despite it being a small defect, it took so long to fix that TUI eventually contracted another aircraft to fly affected passengers to their destination the next morning. They spent the night in a hotel near Schiphol.

The Human Environment and Transport Inspectorate launched an investigation into the leaking Dreamliner. The Inspectorate would not tell AD whether other Dreamliners will be inspected for leaks.

Boeing is also investigating the incident. The company would not comment on the incident with the TUI plane, or say whether other Dreamliners experienced similar problems, according to the newspaper.

This is not the first time a Dreamliner fuel tank leaks, AD reports. In 2012 the United States aviation authority FAA launched an investigation into production faults in Dreamliner tanks after two previous leaks.  In 2013 a Boeing Dreamliner 787 lost more than 150 liters of fuel just before takeoff in Boston. And in 2014 a Norwegian Air Dreamliner was grounded in Bankok due to a fuel leak. In that case the fuel cap turned out to be the problem. 

 

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