Air India Diverts Boeing Dreamliner After Software Fault

Air India diverted a Boeing Co. 787 Dreamliner to Kuala Lumpur as a precaution after the plane developed a software fault yesterday on a flight to New Delhi from Melbourne.

Boeing dispatched a team from Hong Kong to inspect the plane, G.P. Rao, an airline spokesman, said by telephone. The malfunction may have been the result of a software upgrade, Rao said. Press Trust of India reported that the jet carried 215 people.

“We are aware of the in-service incident and working with Air India to provide support,” Kate Bergman, a spokeswoman for Chicago-based Boeing, said by e-mail without giving details.

The Dreamliner has experienced a series of malfunctions since its debut in 2011, including a three-month grounding of the global fleet in 2013 after battery meltdowns on two planes. In January, Japan Airlines Co., one of the biggest operators of the Dreamliner, found a battery cell in an empty jet smoking during preflight maintenance.

Boeing needs to improve the reliability of the Dreamliner to satisfy customers, Mike Fleming, vice president of 787 services and support, said Jan. 24.

Last year’s grounding added to a history of setbacks for the Dreamliner, whose entry into commercial service in 2011 for Tokyo-based ANA Holdings Inc. was more than 3 1/2 years late because of production snags and other delays. Mumbai-based Air India has sparred with Boeing over compensation for tardy deliveries.

It’s the first jetliner built chiefly of composite materials rather than traditional aluminum. It also relies to a greater degree than other jets on electricity to run the plane’s systems, putting a spotlight on the lithium-ion batteries.

Last year, an Air India 787 developed windshield cracks during landing.

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