FAA approves Boeing’s plan to test and certify improvements to the 787 Dreamliner’s battery system
The news of Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) approval for Boeing’s plan to test and certify improvements to the 787 Dreamliner’s battery system has raised hopes of six grounded B-787 aircraft of Air India taking to skies shortly and could be in operation to meet the summer season rush.
In a statement issued here on Wednesday, Boeing said the successful completion of each step within the plan would result in the FAA’s approval to resume commercial 787 flights. The company also gave an insight into the plans for testing the new battery system. “Our top priority is the integrity of our products, and the safety of the passengers and crews who fly on them. Our team has been working around the clock to understand the issues and develop a solution based on extensive analysis and testing following the events that occurred in January. Today’s approval from the FAA is a critical and welcome milestone towards getting the fleet flying again and continuing to deliver on the promise of the 787, Boeing Chairman, President and CEO Jim McNerney said in the statement.
Ray Conner, President and CEO of Boeing Commercial Airplanes, said that the company’s focus had been on developing a permanent resolution. “Working with internal and external experts in battery technology, we have proposed a comprehensive set of solutions designed to significantly minimise the potential for battery failure while ensuring that no battery event affects the continued safe operation of the airplane. Our proposal includes three layers of improvements. First, we’ve improved design features of the battery to prevent faults from occurring and to isolate any that do. Second, we’ve enhanced production, operating and testing processes to ensure the highest levels of quality and performance of the battery and its components. Third, in the unlikely event of a battery failure, we’ve introduced a new enclosure system that will keep any level of battery overheating from affecting the airplane or being noticed by passengers,” he said.
Boeing had made its certification plan proposal to the FAA in late February. On Wednesday, FAA agreed that the proposed changes and the detailed test plans addressed the conditions that resulted in the suspension of 787 operations. The FAA also granted Boeing permission to begin flight test activities on two airplanes. The positive developments and FAA approval has brought some relief in Air India which has been awaiting the good news from Boeing for a long time. The six fleet Dreadmliners of Air India have been grounded since January 16 derailing its plans to not only revive the fortunes of the national carrier but also to resume operations on new domestic and international routes.