CHICAGO (STMW) — Following reports of two fuel leaks on Boeing 787 Dreamliners operated by foreign airlines, the FAA has directed the Chicago-based company to inspect all 787s for airworthiness.

Chicago-based United Airlines is the only U.S. carrier to fly 787s, with three of the mid-size, widebody jets. Another 33 are flown buy foreign operators, according to the Federal Aviation Administration.

“The FAA is issuing an immediately effective airworthiness directive on Boeing 787s following reports of two in-service fuel leaks on aircraft operated by foreign airlines, and later discovery of improperly assembled fuel couplings on in-service and production airplanes,” the FAA said.

It “requires inspection of fuel line couplings in the engine pylons to verify the couplings are correctly assembled and installed.”

The fuel leaks, according to the FAA, resulted from improper assembly of the couplings at Boeing factories. The 787-8 has one rigid coupling and one flexible coupling per engine for a total of four couplings per plane.

The FAA directive requires operators to inspect for correctly installed lockwires on the engine fuel line couplings and full inspection of the couplings to verify they have been assembled correctly.

On Tuesday, a United 787 from Houston to Newark, N.J., made an emergency landing in New Orleans because of mechanical issues. The source of the problem was not known as of Wednesday.

“We’re investigating to see what happened yesterday,” FAA spokesman Les Dorr said.

A Boeing representative was not immediately available to say if the mechanical issues were related to the fuel leaks.

The 787 Dreamliner made its debut on Nov. 4 with a flight from Houston to Chicago. The extremely fuel efficient plane is the first mid-size capable of flying large-jet distances.

(Source: Sun-Times Media Wire © Chicago Sun-Times 2012. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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