GS Yuasa May Take Months to Complete Boeing 787 Battery Probe

GS Yuasa Corp., the battery supplier to Boeing Co. 787 planes that are being grounded, said it may take months to complete its investigation into what caused an emergency landing of an All Nippon Airways Co. Dreamliner.

The company needs to find out whether the emergency landing in Japan yesterday was caused by an issue with the battery or the entire electrical system is at fault, its spokesman Hiroharu Nakano said by phone today. The plane’s electrical system needs to be dismantled for the full investigation, which may take months, he said.

Shares of Kyoto, Japan-based GS Yuasa fell as much as 7.5 percent, the most in almost three months, in Tokyo trading today, as the battery fire on the All Nippon jet triggered grounding of Dreamliners. The Federal Aviation Administration ordered airlines to prove that lithium-ion batteries in the plane, which went into service in late 2011, “are safe and in compliance.”

“We’ll first look at the battery, but we have to check if battery is the only problem or there’s an entire electrical system issue,” Nakano said. “We need to fully investigate the system.”

GS Yuasa has sent a team of technical experts to Takamatsu airport in Japan for investigations, Nakano said.

The stock slid to as low as 297 yen, and changed hands at 305 yen as of 12:25 p.m. in Tokyo trading. The shares have declined 12 percent this year, extending a drop in each of the past three years.

U.S. Regulators

U.S. regulators yesterday temporarily grounded the 787s after All Nippon and Japan Airlines Co. grounded the entire fleet of Dreamliners. Air India Ltd. and Latam Airlines Group S.A., the Santiago, Chile-based carrier, also said they will idle the fleet.

The regulators announced Jan. 11 they were conducting a review of the Dreamliner’s design, manufacturing and assembly in the wake of a Jan. 7 fire aboard a Japan Airlines 787 in Boston.

All Nippon pilots on a domestic flight in Japan yesterday got electrical-fault warnings related to the plane’s lithium-ion battery, forcing the emergency landing, the carrier said. ANA and Japan Airlines then parked their 24 Dreamliners.

The battery, used to start a small turbine engine that provides power when the plane is parked, is designed to not burn critical wiring or the plane’s structure, Mike Sinnett, the 787 chief project engineer, said in a press briefing last week.

The 787’s lithium-ion batteries are part of the Dreamliner’s electrical power conversion system, which is manufactured by France’s Thales SA. United Technologies Corp.’s Aerospace Systems unit supplies the overall system, which uses 1.45 megawatts of electricity, enough to power 400 homes.

Through the end of 2012, Boeing had 848 orders for the 787, according to the planemaker’s website. There are now 50 planes in service, which have flown 50,000 hours, Boeing said in a news release.

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