Multiple Chinese Boeing 787s Grounded After GPS Rollover Glitch

On Friday we reported that this weekend, on April 6th, the world was facing another mini "Y2K" event, this time on GPS devices, as they roll over from “week 1024” to “week 1.” If you have a Garmin or a TomTom on which you rely for navigating, you could run into trouble.

Ahead of the big day, navigation technology manufacturer TomTom NV told users on its website that there was “no need to worry” if you frequently update your device, but said those who don’t may find “navigation impossible” among other problems. Separately, GDP nav giant Garmin said its testing had shown the “vast majority” of its GPS devices would handle the rollover without issue, and those that were affected would see an incorrect date and time displayed but “the positioning accuracy will not be affected.”

Fast forward to Sunday morning when Bloomberg gloated that "the world as we know it didn’t end." As the newswire noted, "the glitch was only expected to affect older GPS systems or ones that hadn’t been updated. The U.S. Department of Homeland Security did signal it wasn’t expecting wide-scale disruptions, but it still warned that utilities, financial systems, airlines and telecommunication systems could be affected by the problem."

Yet while there was indeed no widespread aftershock, some "not so old" systems were indeed affected, with China Aviation Review noting that, surprise, "multiple Boeing 787s in China experienced GPS 20 years rollover issue."

And with no less than 15 Dreamliners affected by the rollover glitch, some aircraft have to be grounded waiting for an update. Despite the GSP snafu, there were no immediate reports of any incidents or complications due to the bug.

With China taking on an aggressive stance vis-a-vis Boeing ever since the latest 737 MAX crash, when in the aftermath of the deadly Ethiopian Airlines catastrophe, China was the first major nation to ground its fleet of the Boeing workhorse airplane, only to see the FAA backtrack and follow suit in the coming days, it is unclear how quickly China will grant the 787 a green light to resume flight as the embarrassments for the biggest Dow Jones company continue to pile up.