Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 30 August 2014

787 in first flight since grounding

An Ethiopian Airlines 787 Dreamliner prepares to take off from Addis Ababa (AP)

A Boeing 787 operated by Ethiopian Airlines flew from Ethiopia to Kenya's capital on Saturday, the first commercial flight since air safety authorities grounded the Dreamliners after incidents with smouldering batteries on two different planes in January.

The Boeing 787 passenger jet arrived in Nairobi's Jomo Kenyatta International Airport after a two-hour trip from Ethiopia's capital, Addis Ababa, according to the Kenya airport website.

The US Federal Aviation Administration has approved Boeing's redesigned battery system, which the company says sharply reduces the risk of fire.

Richard J. Horigan, a Boeing engineer, told reporters in Nairobi this week that all potential causes of battery fire have been eliminated with the new system. But he noted that the root cause of smouldering batteries experienced by the two different 787s may never be known because the evidence was destroyed by heat.

There are 50 Dreamliners in service around the world. Once the FAA approves the fix on individual planes, airlines can start flying them again. United Airlines, the only US airline with the planes, moved one of its six 787s to a Boeing facility in San Antonio, Texas, on Tuesday so it can get the battery fixed. Neither of the battery incidents involved a United jet.

Boeing said Wednesday that deliveries of the 787 should resume in early May.

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