Japan Airlines Boeing 787 Returns To Tokyo With A Door Seal Leak

Last Wednesday, on August 28th, a Japan Airlines (JAL) Boeing 787-8 flying from Tokyo Narita to Bangkok had to return to Tokyo due to the aircraft “muttering and growling at the right hand forward main door”. Reportedly, passengers were complaining about noise and vibrations coming from the door.

JAL 787
The combined average age of JAL’s Boeing 787 Dreamliners is 3.9 years. Photo: Japan Airlines

The flight details

The aircraft in question was flying as JL707 from Tokyo Narita to Bangkok. Aviation Herald reports that there were 189 people on board the aircraft. The incident took place as it made its ascent.

After several complaints by passengers, the crew decided to turn around 320 nautical miles southwest of Tokyo as a precaution. A safe landing was completed two hours after initial departure and the flight had to be canceled.

Japan Airlines Boeing 787 Returns To Tokyo With A Door Seal Leak
The path of Japan Airlines flight JL707. Photo: FlightRadar24.com

Upon inspection, Japan Airlines reportedly found a small gap in the door seal through which air probably could escape, despite a constant cabin pressure being maintained. The aircraft involved was back in service approximately 37 hours after landing back at Narita airport. Since the repair, the aircraft has flown safely to destinations like Dailan and Shanghai, in China.

The aircraft

According to AirFleets, the specific aircraft had registration JA831J. This is a 5.6-year-old Boeing 787-8 Dreamliner that was delivered to Japan Airlines in March of 2014. It is powered by two GEnx engines – as is the entire 787-8 fleet with Japan Airlines. Interestingly, some of the airline’s 787-9 jets are powered by Rolls-Royce Trent 1000 engines instead.

Japan Airlines Boeing 787 Returns To Tokyo With A Door Seal Leak
The aircraft involved in the incident is 5.6 years old. Photo: Boeing

The Japan Airlines fleet

The entire Boeing 787 fleet is a total of 42 aircraft and a mix of -8 and -9 jets. Their combined average age is 3.9 years old according to AirFleets.

As for the rest of Japan Airlines’ aircraft, the carrier has some 50 Boeing 737-800s for its short-haul operations and a mix of 777-200 and 777-300 jets for longer routes. Furthermore, the airline has 35 767-300 jets. These can be seen on some high-demand short-haul routes such as between Sapporo and Tokyo.

Finally, the airline recently welcomed its first Airbus A350 this past summer, an aircraft it plans to use on busy domestic routes. The interior of this aircraft is stunning and will make its debut flying from Tokyo to Fukuoka this fall.

Japan Airlines has had large numbers of Boeing 747 aircraft in the past, some of which were used for cargo. However, they’ve all since been retired and/or returned to the leasing companies from whence they came. However, one 747 is still in service. JA8992 went to Transaero for a year before finding a new life flying for Rossiya, where to this day it still flies scheduled services.

Japan Airlines Boeing 787 Returns To Tokyo With A Door Seal Leak
Japan Airlines has 25 -8 variants and 17 -9 variants of the Boeing 787 Dreamliner. Photo: Masakatsu Ukon via Flickr

We reached out to Japan Airlines for comment regarding this incident. However, at the time of writing, we have not heard back from the airline. If we get anything we will make an update to this article.