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Tuesday, July 24, 2012 - Page updated at 06:30 p.m.

Japanese carrier returns Dreamliners to skies after corrosion fix

By Los Angeles Times

Five of Boeing's new 787 Dreamliner commercial airplanes belonging to Japanese carrier All Nippon Airways were grounded because of corrosion found in jet engines during testing.

By late Monday, All Nippon Airways confirmed that three of the affected Dreamliners had been returned to service with replacement parts.

"The replacement is expected to be complete in the days ahead," Boeing spokesman Scott Lefeber said. "No airplanes will be delivered with affected parts."

The Dreamliner, a twin-aisle aircraft that seats 210 to 290 passengers, made its first passenger flight with All Nippon Airways in October.

But it was more than three years late because of design problems and supplier issues.

The latest problem was caused by changes to a manufacturing process, Boeing said Monday.

The changes caused some of the crown gears to corrode within the gearbox, the company said.

The flaw was discovered during testing by the engine's maker, Rolls-Royce.

All Nippon Airways owns 11 Dreamliners.

The airline grounded the five airplanes with affected parts until the gearboxes could be replaced, Lefeber said.

Corrosion is the most recent problem with the Dreamliner.

Shortly after delivery of the first aircraft, All Nippon Airways reported a problem with landing gear.

In March, Boeing had to slow Dreamliner deliveries because the sheets of laminated composite materials that make up the plane's body were separating.

Through June, Boeing has taken 845 orders for the Dreamliner from airlines and aircraft leasing firms around the world.

Depending on the version of Dreamliner ordered, the plane will cost between $185 million and $218 million.

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