Dreamliner battery ‘fixed’

ANA has grounded its Dreamliners until June
ANA has grounded its Dreamliners until June

Boeing is believed to have found a solution to the battery problem which has grounded all 50 of its B787 Dreamliner aircraft.

Ray Conner, President & CEO of the US planemaker’s commercial division, was reported saying that Boeing had found a “permanent” fix for the troublesome lithium-ion batteries with its Japanese supplier, GS Yuasa Corp. It is unclear however, how long testing will take or when the Dreamliners will be back in operation.

While Boeing has not divulged details of the solution, Bloomberg reported Michael Huerta of the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) as saying that the proposal features the addition of three safety layers, aimed at ensuring none of the individual cells within the batteries overheat.

The FAA chief added however, that there are several more hurdles to overcome before the Dreamliner is allowed back into commercial service.

“Once we approve a plan, then we have to go through the process of actually implementing the plan, which would involve a great deal of testing, a great deal of further analysis and re- engineering before those planes will be flying again,” Huerta was quoted saying at a US hearing this week.

Boeing will obviously be hoping the battery solution is confirmed as being safe as quickly as possible. Every week the Dreamliner remains out of service marks another week of lost revenue and potential compensation claims from customers. Last week the Dreamliner’s two largest customers, ANA and Japan Airlines (JAL), announced the cancellation of all Dreamliner flights until June 2013, reflecting a lack of optimism in the chances of finding a quick solution. JAL also previously stated that it may seek compensation from Boeing for losses caused by the grounding.

In its outlook for 2013, released 13 days after the Dreamliner grounding, Boeing stated that it planned to deliver more than 60 B787s in 2013, about 30% more than last year.

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