Air India’s Dreamliner Aircraft, grounded since January after incidents of battery fire, may take to the sky in the next two weeks, officials said on Saturday.
United States Federal officials have accepted Boeing’s revamped battery system for its beleaguered 787 Dreamliners and intend to lift a three-month-old order grounding the planes, Boeing said in a statement in Washington.
“A team of engineers from Boeing is being flown into India and they are likely to start work to reset the new batteries on the six Dreamliners of Air India,” DGCA chief Arun Mishra said.
He said engineers of the DGCA and Air India will be working with the Boeing team. They are expected to hand over all the six Boeing 787 by the first week of next month. After checks and tests, if these are found successful, DGCA will have to withdraw the order for grounding these planes, Mr. Mishra said.
The American Aviation regulator, Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has approved the new battery design made by the aircraft manufacturer Boeing.
Following the battery fire incidents on two Japanese airlines, the entire fleet of 50 Boeing-787 including six of Air India aircraft called the Dreamliner were grounded in January.
Air India has already received the new battery kit, though the revamped batteries are yet to arrive, senior Air India officials said.
A team of over 20 engineers are being flown into India by Boeing to help Air India’s engineering team install the new battery kit in each of the six aircraft, they said.
“It will take almost a week to install these batteries on each of these aircraft. We start flying only after we get at least two of these aircraft operational,” Air India officials said.
In a statement in Washington, FAA said, “Lifting the grounding order gives Boeing the go-ahead to begin retrofitting planes with an enhanced lithium ion battery system.
“The root cause of battery failures that led to a fire on one of the planes and smoke on another remains unknown.
Flights could resume within a week,” it said.
Design feature improvements for the battery include addition of new thermal and electrical insulation materials and other changes, Boeing said, adding the enhanced production and testing processes include more stringent screening of battery cells prior to their assembly.