The Business Times

Boeing's latest woe: ice build-up in engine

Some jets may not be allowed to fly near thunderstorms

Published Tue, Nov 26, 2013 · 10:00 PM
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[NEW YORK] US regulators are poised to order airlines to avoid flying Boeing Co 787 Dreamliners and 747-8 jumbo jets with General Electric Co (GE) engines near thunderstorms after some of the planes experienced ice buildup.

A directive due this week is an "interim action" to ensure pilots fly clear of icing conditions that could reduce thrust from GEnx engines, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) said on Monday. The US move follows Japan Airlines Co's (JAL) decision to shift to other jets from 787s on some Asia routes.

The icing risk adds urgency for pilots to steer clear of thunderstorms already shunned because of potentially deadly lightning and turbulence. Jets flying at high altitudes through tropical zones can be at risk from powerful storms that promote the formation of performance-sapping ice, according to GE, the world's largest maker of jet engines.

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