Boeing 787s under investigation after ‘engine issue’ on runway

Federal regulators are investigating Boeing Co.'s 787 jets after one of the Dreamliner planes sparked a grass fire in South Carolina during preflight testing.

Boeing said one of the commercial planes “experienced an engine issue” Saturday on the runway in North Charleston, S.C. Debris from the jet fell onto the grass and started a fire, which temporarily shut down the airport, according to local reports.

There were no injuries, the company said.

The National Transportation Safety Board is now “in its early stages” of investigating, Boeing said.

Boeing said it was “unaware of any operational issue that would present concerns about the continued safe operation of in-service 787s powered by GE engines.” The Chicago company, however, said it would respond “appropriately” should the government’s probe “determine a need to act.”

The fuel-efficient 787, which debuted last year, has been beset by delays and production glitches.

In February, Boeing discovered a fuselage flaw that it said could slow deliveries. Last week, five Dreamliners belonging to Japanese carrier All Nippon Airways were grounded because of corrosion discovered in jet engines during testing.

Boeing has taken 845 orders for the planes through June, making it one of the bestselling jets ever. Each costs $185 million to $218 million and seats as many as 290 passengers.

The Dreamliner’s first trip with paying passengers — an All Nippon flight — came in October after a three-year delay caused by design and supplier problems.