To fix lithium battery problems of six AI Dreamliners
Raising hopes of resumption of flights by the six grounded B-787 Dreadmliners by next month, a team of technical experts from Boeing will reach India by the end of this month to fix the lithium battery problem following approval by the US Federal Aviation Authority (FAA) for such an exercise.
Air India had grounded its six airplane fleet on January 16 on the directions by FAA to ground all B-787 Dreadmliners worldwide following battery-fire problem. ``The FAA has approved Boeing's plan to fix the battery-fire problem in the Boeing 787 Dreamliner fleet. Boeing engineers are expected to arrive here by the end of this month and fix the lithium ion battery packages,’’ Director General Civil Aviation (DGCA) Arun Misra said here on Friday.
It may take a week for the new battery kit to be installed. The FAA took three to four weeks to complete the tests and certify the kit. Apart from India, airlines in Chile, Ethiopia, Japan, Poland, Qatar and US have the Dreamliners.
In a separate statement, Boeing said a comprehensive set of improvements that will add several layers of additional safety features to the lithium-ion batteries are in production and could be ready for initial installation within the next few weeks. New enclosures for 787 batteries are also being built and will be installed in airplanes in the weeks ahead, the statement said.
``As soon as our testing is complete and we obtain regulatory approvals, we will be positioned to help our customers implement these changes and begin the process of getting their 787s back in the air,’’ said Boeing Commercial Airplanes president and CEO Ray Conner.
``Passengers can be assured that we have completed a thorough review of the battery system and made numerous improvements that we believe will make it a safer, more reliable battery system,’’ he added.
``We've come up with a comprehensive set of solutions that result in a safer battery system,’’ said Mike Sinnett, vice-president and chief project engineer, 787 programme, Boeing Commercial Airplanes. ``We have found a number of ways to improve the battery system and we don't let safety improvements go once they are identified. We incorporate them into our processes and products,’’ he added.