* Investigation by Japanese and U.S. authorities
* Battery maker GS Yuasa says cooperating
* More detailed probe at plant on Tuesday
* ANA, JAL cancel flights; no talk of Boeing compensation
* GS Yuasa shares gain 1 pct
By Yoshiyuki Osada and James Topham
TOKYO/KYOTO, Japan, Jan 21 U.S. and Japanese
aviation safety officials investigating problems with Boeing
Co's 787 Dreamliner visited the headquarters of the
plane's battery maker on Monday, seeking clues into why one of
the technologically advanced aircraft made an emergency landing
A spokesman for GS Yuasa Corp, which makes
batteries for the 787, said the company was fully cooperating
with the investigation, and its engineers were working with the
officials from the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA)
and Japan's Civil Aviation Bureau (CAB) at the company's
compound in Kyoto, where it makes airplane batteries.
CAB official Tatsuyuki Shimazu told reporters the
investigating team had been briefed by GS Yuasa and had toured
the plant, looking at battery design, production and quality.
The Japanese investigation at the plant will continue on Tuesday
on a more detailed level, including tracking battery batch
numbers and production dates, he said.
Authorities around the world last week grounded the new
lightweight Dreamliner, and Boeing halted deliveries after a
problem with a lithium-ion battery prompted an All Nippon
Airways 787 into the emergency landing at Takamatsu
airport during a domestic flight. Earlier this month, a similar
battery caught fire in a Japan Airlines' 787 parked at
Boston Logan International Airport.
U.S. safety investigators on Sunday ruled out excess voltage
as the cause of the Boston battery fire on Jan. 7, and said they
were expanding their probe to look at the battery's charger and
the jet's auxiliary power unit. The battery is one part of the
787's complex electrical system, built by French company Thales
"Results have shown the battery was abnormal in both the
Boston and Takamatsu (incidents). They were the most damaged,"
Shigeru Takano, a senior safety official at the CAB, told
reporters ahead of the on-site visit to GS Yuasa. "We will look
into if the work that took place, from design to manufacturing,
Shares in GS Yuasa, valued at close to $1.5 billion, rose 1
percent on Monday, having dropped nearly 10 percent since the
Boston fire. The benchmark Nikkei fell 1.5 percent.
The company, which employs nearly 12,300 staff, expects
revenue of 288 billion yen ($3.2 billion) in the year to
end-March - with only around 1 percent of that coming from its
aircraft battery business. The company's batteries are used
primarily in motorbikes, industrial equipment and power supply
GS Yuasa, in which automaker Toyota Motor Corp has
a 2.7 percent stake, reported an operating profit of around $160
million in the year to last March.
MORE FLIGHTS CANCELLED
The grounding of the Dreamliner, an advanced
carbon-composite plane with a list price of $207 million, has
forced ANA to cancel 151 domestic and 26 international flights
scheduled for Jan. 23-28, affecting more than 21,000 passengers,
the airline said on Monday.
The cancellations add to the 72 flights scheduled for Jan.
19-22 that ANA called off last week. ANA, which flies the most
Dreamliners of any airline, said it will announce on Thursday
its plans on flight cancellations for dates from Jan. 29.
ANA said it had not yet decided whether to seek compensation
from Boeing for losses as a result of the 787's grounding. "At
this point we're concentrating on getting the Dreamliner back in
service, rather than considering requesting compensation," said
spokesman Ryosei Nomura.
Rival JAL said it cancelled four flights on its Tokyo-San
Diego route for Jan. 27-28, adding to the 8 flights originally
scheduled for Jan. 19-25 on the same route it called off last
week. It said it had yet to decide changes for flights slated
for Jan. 26.
"We've been able to rearrange routes originally scheduled to
use the Dreamliner with alternative aircraft," said JAL
spokeswoman Sze Hunn Yap, adding there was no talk about
compensation at this stage.
Japan is the biggest market to date for the Dreamliner, with
JAL and ANA flying 24 of the 50 passenger jets that Boeing has