A team of technical experts from Boeing will reach India by the end of this month to fix the lithium battery problem of the B-787 Dreamliners, raising hopes of the six aircraft Air India grounded on January 16 resuming flight by next month.
U.S. Federal Aviation Authority (FAA) had issued a directive to ground all B-787 Dreamliners worldwide following a 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,” Director General Civil Aviation (DGCA) Arun Misra said here on Friday.
Mr. Misra said Air India would be in a position to put its fleet back in service by the end of April. It is understood that it would take a week for the new battery kit to be installed and tested in all the six Dreamliners of the national carrier.
The US aircraft manufacturer has developed new battery kits for the Dreamliners. It took three to four weeks for FAA to complete the tests and certify the kit. Apart from India, airlines in Chile, Ethiopia, Japan, Poland, Qatar and the U.S. have Dreamliners.
In a separate statement, Boeing said a comprehensive set of improvements that would add several layers of additional safety features to the lithium-ion batteries on 787 commercial jetliners were in production and could be ready for initial installation within the next few weeks. New enclosures for 787 batteries were also being built and would be installed in the weeks ahead.
“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.”
Battery system changes include changes to the battery itself, the battery charging unit and the battery installation.