ANA flight cancellations top 450 with Boeing jet grounded

TOKYO Thu Jan 24, 2013 9:20pm EST

TOKYO (Reuters) - All Nippon Airways Co, which has the biggest fleet of Boeing Co 787 Dreamliner jets, on Friday cancelled another 78 flights scheduled for January 29-31 - bringing total cancellations at the Japanese carrier since one of the planes made an emergency landing on January 16 to 459.

All Dreamliners have been grounded since January 17 due to unexplained battery problems.

ANA, which has 17 of the 50 Dreamliners that Boeing has delivered to airlines to date, said the cancellations have affected more than 58,000 passengers, adding it would announce on Saturday which flights it will not run from February 1.

ANA says on its website that it flies around 3.7 million passengers each month on domestic and international routes

ANA, which has put the lightweight, fuel-efficient jetliner at the centre of its growth strategy, may have to scale back its next 2-year plan as it weighs the mounting cost of the new aircraft's grounding.

U.S. safety officials looking into a battery fire on a separate 787 jet said on Thursday they are nowhere close to completing their probe, raising the prospect of a lengthy suspension for the technologically advanced aircraft.

(Reporting by James Topham; Editing by Ian Geoghegan)