TOKYO - Regulators on Thursday grounded nearly all of the world’s 787 Dreamliner fleet until a fire risk linked to the plane’s batteries is fixed, deepening a crisis for US titan Boeing that threatens to last weeks. Authorities in Japan, Europe, India and Chile followed the lead of the US Federal Aviation Administration in ordering an indefinite halt to all flights, after a Japanese Dreamliner on Wednesday was forced into an emergency landing.

The FAA, whose remit overseeing all US-made planes extends around the world, highlighted “a potential battery fire risk in the 787” after a suspected leak emerged as the focus of inquiries into the aborted All Nippon Airways flight. Analysts said the ANA incident, following a series of safety scares involving the Dreamliner, needed careful crisis management from Boeing, which is staking its future on the next-generation plane. The aircraft relies on battery-powered electronics rather than the hydraulics used in older planes. Boeing says its use of lightweight composite materials is a breakthrough for airlines anxious to cut fuel costs. Boeing chief executive Jim McNerney said the company “deeply regrets” the impact of recent events on airlines and passengers, and vowed to take “every necessary step” in concert with the FAA to resolve the problems. However, he stressed: “We are confident the 787 is safe and we stand behind its overall integrity.” As a result of the mishap on the domestic ANA flight, 41 out of the 50 Dreamliners in operation around the world have now been grounded. United Airlines - the sole US carrier to fly the Dreamliner - joined ANA and Japan Airlines (JAL) in withdrawing Dreamliners from service. Air India and Chile’s LAN Airlines followed suit, while LOT Polish Airlines - the 787’s only European operator for now - was subject to a halt order from the European Union’s aviation agency.