US officials approve Dreamliner battery fix

US officials approve Dreamliner battery fix

Boeing 787 Dreamliners could be flying again within a week after US officials approved a fix for its batteries.

The Federal Aviation Administration said it would send airlines instructions and publish a notice this week lifting the three-month-old grounding order.

Airlines will be able to begin flying the aircraft again as soon as the new systems are installed and they have approval from safety regulators in their own countries.

The manufacturer has stationed 300 workers on 10 teams around the world to do the work. It will take about five days to install the revamped lithium-ion battery system on each aircraft.

Boeing chairman and chief executive Jim McNerney said: "FAA approval clears the way for us and the airlines to begin the process of returning the 787 to flight with continued confidence in the safety and reliability of this game-changing new airplane."

Transportation secretary Ray LaHood said: "Safety of the travelling public is our number one priority. These changes to the 787 battery will ensure the safety of the aircraft and its passengers."

The FAA gave Boeing permission last month to test the revamped system, which includes additional insulation around each of the battery's eight cells to prevent a short circuit or fire in one of the cells from spreading to the others.

The new system also includes enhanced venting of smoke and gas from inside the battery to outside the aircraft. A strengthened box to hold the battery is an effort to ensure that if a fire were to occur, it would not escape to the rest of the aircraft.

Boeing had delivered 50 planes to eight airlines in seven countries when a fire erupted in a battery aboard a Japan Airlines 787 parked at Boston airport on January 7.

Nine days later another incident forced an emergency landing in Japan by an All Nippon Airways 787. That prompted the FAA and other authorities to ground the entire fleet.


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