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Norwegian Air Shuttle Grounds Boeing Dreamliner

COPENHAGEN, Denmark -- Norwegian Air Shuttle ASA grounded a Boeing (BA) 787 Dreamliner on Saturday so officials from the American company can examine what appears to be a technical problem.

Norwegian spokesman Lasse Sandaker-Nielsen said Saturday the plane "has not been reliable enough and passengers have been subjected to too many delays." He declined to identify the technical glitches encountered.

In the meantime, the Scandinavian low-cost carrier will lease an Airbus A340 to fly on its two new long-haul destinations between Stockholm, Sweden, and New York and Bangkok.

Norwegian Air Shuttle has ordered eight Dreamliners and received two.

The Dreamliner is the world's first commercial plane made mostly of lighter-weight composite materials. Boeing says the plane cuts fuel consumption by 20 percent and lowers operating costs by 30 percent. The 787 is the first airliner to make extensive use of lithium ion batteries, which are lighter weight, charge faster and contain more energy than conventional batteries similar in size.

But the aircraft has been plagued by problems since the jets were grounded worldwide in January for lithium-ion batteries that overheated or caught fire following an incident on a flight by the Japanese airline All Nippon Airways. Flights resumed four months later after a revamped battery system was installed.

But in July a Dreamliner with Ethiopian Airlines caught fire while parked at London's Heathrow airport, and the LOT Polish Airlines reported technical problems and demanded that Boeing try to solve a potential safety threat.

In August, All Nippon Airways and Japan Airlines briefly grounded their Boeing 787s for wiring problems unrelated to battery defects.
Copyright 2011 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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