Belfast Telegraph

Sunday 21 December 2014

Boeing eyes Dreamliner lift-off

Boeing's Dreamliner could be back in the skies before the end of the month – despite a top boss admitting the aviation firm has not yet worked out what caused the on-board fires that grounded the plane for three months.

The US aircraft manufacturer has started installing new lithium ion batteries in some of its grounded 787 jets owned by All Nippon Airways and Japan Airlines. But Randy Tinseth, vice president of Boeing Commercial Airplanes, told the Evening Standard the firm had not identified a single fault.

"We made changes to the production system, battery and charging system, to ensure that should there be a failure, even though we don't expect one, it would be contained so an airplane with a failure could still fly."

Tinseth added: "The battery is now contained in stainless steel, so should there be overheating, there is no chance of flames or fire because there's no oxygen present.

"If there were any fumes from a fire there's no chance of it entering the cabin or cockpit."

Mr Tinseth said he "wouldn't hesitate" to take his family on the Dreamliner. But he admitted Boeing's reputation had been hit by the battery fire and smoke problems in January that grounded the fleet and cost the company an estimated $600m (£395m).

A final directive on the Dreamliner will be issued by the US's Federal Aviation Administration this week.

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