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LOT airline Boeing Dreamliner forced to land in Iceland

WARSAW (Reuters) - A Boeing 787 Dreamliner operated by Poland's LOT airline had to land unexpectedly in Iceland on Sunday due to a fault in its airplane identification system, a spokeswoman for the airline said on Sunday.

The plane was flying from Toronto to Warsaw when it was forced to land at the island's Keflavik airport, at Reykjavik.

"The aircraft had to land due to an air identification system fault. The Norwegian authorities have refused permission to fly over its territory, even though other countries gave permission to fly over theirs," Barbara Pijanowska-Kuras said.

Boeing said the diversion resulted from an "inoperative antenna" used to transmit the plane's identification information during flight. Flight is allowed with the antenna not working, but requires air traffic controllers along the route to pre-approve the flight, Boeing said.

"LOT has already made the proper arrangements and parts and personnel are en route to address the issue and return the airplane to flight status," Boeing spokesman Marc Birtel said in a statement sent to Reuters. "Boeing stands ready to help if asked."

The Dreamliner was expected to be a game-changer for the aviation industry, but there have been delays getting it into service and setbacks including the grounding of all the planes due to battery problems.

Budget airline Norwegian Air Shuttle on Saturday took one of its brand new Dreamliners out of long-haul service and demanded that Boeing repair the plane after it suffered repeated breakdowns.

For state-owned LOT, which has struggled for years with huge operating losses, the incident adds to a list of problems with the Dreamliners. Last week it had to delay flights after check-ups showed two planes lacked gas filters.

LOT is demanding from Boeing compensation for lost revenue and has given Boeing time until the end of the year to settle on compensation over faults or face court action.

Pijanowska-Kuras said that LOT had sent two planes to get the Dreamliner passengers to Poland, while Boeing's service company will be working to solve the issue so that the Dreamliner could be taken to Poland "as soon as possible".

She said it is too early to say whether the unexpected landing in Iceland would be added to LOT's list of claims from Boeing.

(Reporting by Agnieszka Barteczko in Warsaw and Alwyn Scott in New York; Editing by Patrick Graham and Leslie Gevirtz)

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