US approves fix to Boeing's Dreamliner plane

US regulation body approves company's revamped battery system, bringing closer grounded plane's return to service.

    US approves fix to Boeing's Dreamliner plane
    All of the 50 Boeing 787 planes in service were grounded globally after a series of overheating problems [Reuters]

    US regulators have approved a revamped battery system for Boeing's 787 Dreamliner, a crucial step in returning the plane to service after more than three months of grounding prompted by lithium-ion batteries that burned on the jets.

    The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) said on Friday that it had approved a package of detailed design changes, a move that allows Boeing to issue a service bulletin and make repairs to the fleet of 50 planes owned by eight airlines around the world.

    "Next week, the FAA will issue instructions to operators for making changes to the aircraft and will publish in the Federal Register the final directive that will allow the 787 to return to service with the battery system modifications," the agency said. "The directive will take effect upon publication.

    "The FAA will require airlines that operate the 787 to install containment and venting systems for the main and auxiliary system batteries, and to replace the batteries and their chargers with modified components."

    At this time, the FAA announcement only affects United Airlines, the sole US airline flying 787s.

    The FAA said it would "continue to support other authorities around the world as they finalise their own acceptance
    procedures".

    Boeing, which has been working with the FAA and other regulators to discover the cause of the battery problems and
    develop a fix, welcomed the FAA's approval.

    "This is a comprehensive and permanent solution with multiple layers of protection," said Boeing commercial
    airplanes president and chief executive Ray Conner.

    A report on Friday suggested regulators in other countries could impose additional safety requirements on Boeing.

    The article in Japan's Nikkei business daily said measures imposed by the Japanese transport ministry could include remote monitoring of battery data such as voltage and more frequent battery inspections.

    All of the 50 Boeing 787 planes in service were grounded globally in mid-January after a series of overheating problems with the cutting-edge plane's lithium-ion battery system.

    The grounding came after a battery fire on a parked Japan Airlines 787 at Boston's Logan International Airport and an incident in which battery smoke forced an emergency landing of an All Nippon Airways 787 in Japan.

    SOURCE: Agencies


    YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

    Survivor stories from Super Typhoon Haiyan

    Survivor stories from Super Typhoon Haiyan

    The Philippines’ Typhoon Haiyan was the strongest storm ever to make landfall. Five years on, we revisit this story.

    How Moscow lost Riyadh in 1938

    How Moscow lost Riyadh in 1938

    Russian-Saudi relations could be very different today, if Stalin hadn't killed the Soviet ambassador to Saudi Arabia.

    We Are Still Here: A Story from Native Alaska

    We Are Still Here: A Story from Native Alaska

    From Qatar to Alaska, a personal journey exploring what it means to belong when your culture is endangered.