US officials have ordered Boeing to fix engines on some of its 787 Dreamliner airplanes to avoid sudden failure in icy conditions, calling the problem an "urgent safety issue."
The Federal Aviation Administration directive concerns a potential problem in General Electric engines that could affect more than 150 of the planes worldwide, following a January incident that caused an engine on a 787, Boeing's newest passenger plane, to fail mid-flight.
Pilots on the Japan Airlines flight from Vancouver to Tokyo shut down the engine and the incident was not deemed serious because the plane's other engine was not susceptible to the problem.
The Dreamliner is constructed largely of advanced lightweight carbon-fiber reinforced composite materials that reduce fuel use and it is Boeing's most sophisticated passenger plane.
However, it has been dogged by a series of problems during development and production as well as since its first commercial flight in late 2011.
The FAA said it was ordering modifications that would prevent ice from accumulating on fan blades in GE's most advanced GEnx engines, making them rub against the engine casing, which can cause "damage and a possible in-flight non-restartable power loss of one or both engines."
Airlines that use the planes must repair or replace at least one of the engines on all affected 787 Dreamliners within five months.
Although the problem may affect 176 Dreamliners worldwide, the FAA directive concerns only the 43 planes operated by US-based airlines.
However, carriers in other countries, which typically follow the FAA's regulations, are also expected to comply.
GE recommended the repairs last month, the FAA statement on Friday said, and Boeing and GE have been working on the issue for months, with more than 40 Dreamliner engines fixed so far, reports say.
The repairs - involving grinding down engine casings - can be done without removing the engines from planes.
The FAA order also requires that pilots be alerted to new operating procedures for coping with possible icing problems at low altitude.Last updated: April 23 2016 08:52 PM
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