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Boeing planes built in North Charleston grounded

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By Stefanie Bainum
sbainum@abcnews4.com

NORTH CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCIV) – It's a tough reality for aerospace giant Boeing. All their cutting-edge 787 Dreamliners are stuck on the ground and it remains to be seen for how long.

Though the most recent problems have involved Dreamliners built at the Boeing plant in Washington, Air India planes built in North Charleston were grounded Thursday for technical review.

According to USA Today, Air India said it grounded its fleet of six Boeing 787 aircraft under orders from Indian aviation authorities. The North Charleston built planes have stopped flying as the company waits for an investigation by Indian regulatory authorities to take place.

Reports show that the European Aviation safety authority has also followed the FAA's action and grounded it's Boeing 787 planes that are flown by the Polish airline LOT. The FAA announced late on Wednesday that all 50 U.S. registered Dreamliners are now grounded.

The move comes after a 787's unscheduled landing in Japan on Wednesday put the lives of 129 passengers at risk. With Boeing 787's grounded, travel plans are up in the air for people like Amber Lebede.

"I do work a lot, and it's nice to finally get on your vacation and oh guess what, 'Your flight is canceled. Should I go or come back tomorrow?'" traveler Amber Lebede asked.

The latest Boeing mechanical incident is part of the reason why passengers will have to wait. It's the same 787 lithium ion battery design that burned in Boston last week, prompting regulators to review the 787 design.

Experts say the battery issue is more concerning than other glitches like fuel leaks and wiring issues.

"They've had the same thing go wrong twice -- smoke in a plane, vapors and fumes in a cockpit or in a cabin that happens about once a week," aviation expert Mary Schiavo said. "It happens a lot but it doesn't happen to the same model of aircraft in the same component repeatedly."

A series of issues have sent Boeing stock numbers plummeting and now the FAA will investigate the planes' complete manufacturing process -- from design to assembly.

"It's a financial concern for the company but, it will be short-lived. If the history proves to be like the triple-7 then what they can expect is an 18-month to two-year period where they work out the glitches," Schiavo said.

The only U.S. carrier that flies the new planes is United Airlines. A spokesman for the airline released a statement that it will work closely with the FAA and Boeing on the technical review.

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