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The safety of Boeing's Dreamliner questioned

6:59 PM, Jan 11, 2013   |    comments
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(NBC NEWS) -- After electrical fires, a fuel leak and cracks in windshields federal authorities are launching what they call a "comprehensive review" of Boeing's 787 Dreamliner.

A bad week for the Dreamliner began Monday in Boston when a battery exploded in a plane at Boston's Logan International Airport, causing a fire that filled the cabin with smoke.

That was followed by another incident, also at Boston's Logan, where a 787 was forced back to the gate because of a fuel leak.

Then brake problems, cracked windshields and electrical issues on other Dreamliners around the world culminated Friday with U.S. transportation officials announcing their review.

It's far from a grounding, but still an extraordinary step for the FAA, which says the focus will mainly be on the Dreamliner's electrical system.

Boeing's president says every new aircraft has issues and the company welcomes the review.

"We have complete confidence in the 787," said Boeing president Ray Conner.

"I believe this plane is safe and I would have absolutely no reservation of boarding one of these planes and taking a flight," Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood said when announcing the review.

The decision didn't affect the inaugural flight Friday of a Dreamliner from San Jose to Tokyo on Japan's All Nippon Airways.

It's been a bumpy ride since Boeing first launched Dreamliner 15 months ago, but analysts say the aviation giant is probably grateful at this point.

"If this was a serious safety concern for the FAA, they would ground this airplane," notes CNBC's Phil Lebeau. "That hasn't happened which is a good sign."

Still, the review has the potential to deal a setback to the Dreamliner especially if it leads to a costly design change.

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