Broken toilet flush forces JAL Dreamliner to turn back

Delivery of first 787 to Japan Airlines March 26, 2012 at the Paine Field in Everett, Washington

A 787 Dreamliner bound for Japan was forced to turn around and fly back to Russia after toilets on the plane refused to flush, according to operator Japan Airlines (JAL). The Boeing plane carrying 151 crew members and passengers left Moscow late Wednesday for Narita airport east of Tokyo but returned two hours later, a JAL spokesman said. "It was hit by trouble -- toilets became unable to be used and the device to heat meals also had a problem," he said. The glitches were believed to be due to an electrical fault but had nothing to do with the plane's batteries, he added. The average flight time between Moscow and Tokyo is around ten hours. Boeing's 787 lightweight plane -- hailed for its fuel-efficiency but marred by years of production delays -- was grounded globally in January after lithium-ion batteries overheated on two different planes, with one of them catching fire while parked. JAL and its Japanese rival All Nippon Airways, the single biggest operators of the Dreamliner, have put their fleets back into service. JAL resumed Dreamliner flights in June after fixing the batteries. European planemaker Airbus on Monday announced a $9.5 billion deal with JAL, its first jet order from the carrier, challenging Boeing's dominance in the Japanese market as it struggles with the troubled Dreamliner.

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