The European Aviation Safety Agency has decided it will follow an FAA directive to ground all Boeing (NYSE: BA) 787 aircraft for inspections. The net effect is that the fleets of planes owned by all EU based carriers will be take out of service, for a period of indeterminate length. Based on the complexity of the electronic problem which is at the heart of the trouble, that period could extend for months.
The original document from the FAA reads:
Emergency airworthiness directive (AD) 2013-02-51 is sent to owners and operators of The Boeing Company Model 787-8 airplanes.
This emergency AD was prompted by recent incidents involving lithium ion battery failures that resulted in release of flammable electrolytes, heat damage, and smoke on two Model 787-8 airplanes. The cause of these failures is currently under investigation. These conditions, if not corrected, could result in damage to critical systems and structures, and the potential for fire in the electrical compartment.
We are issuing this AD because we evaluated all the relevant information and determined the unsafe condition described previously is likely to exist or develop in other products of the same type design.
Watch for Boeing’s shares to collapse at the open.