Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Boeing to Propose 787 Battery Fix, Source Says

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Boeing to Propose 787 Battery Fix, Source Says

Article excerpt

WASHINGTON Boeing Co. has developed a plan to temporarily fix problems with 787 Dreamliner batteries that have kept the planes on the ground for more than a month.

Boeing Commercial Airplanes CEO Ray Conner is expected to present the plan to Michael Huerta, head of the Federal Aviation Administration, in a meeting on Friday, a congressional official said Wednesday.

The official spoke on condition of anonymity because he wasn't authorized to speak publicly.

Any repairs would be subject to FAA approval, and the agency isn't expected to act immediately without test results showing the fixes can ensure safety. Changes in the battery also would need the backing of U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood, who has said the 787 won't fly again until the U.S. is "1,000 percent sure" it's safe.

Ending the grounding is pivotal for Boeing and the airlines that have taken delivery of the first 49 planes. Boeing wants to be able to resume shipments of new 787s, and restarting flights would let carriers end the aircraft shuffle used to replace their Dreamliners since they were ordered parked on Jan. 16.

Marc Birtel, a spokesman for Chicago-based Boeing, declined Wednesday to say whether a meeting has been scheduled with the FAA.

"We have been in close communication with the regulatory and investigative authorities since the 787 issue arose," he said. "Everyone is working to get to the answer as quickly as possible and good progress is being made."

Boeing's proposal will include a more fire-resistant box housing the eight lithium-ion cells in each of the 787's two batteries, as well as a tubing system to vent battery fumes or smoke in case of an incident, a source said.

After a battery caught fire on a plane parked in Boston and a smoking battery led to an emergency landing by another plane in Japan, the FAA and overseas aviation authorities grounded all 50 of the planes in service worldwide. …

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