The Boeing Company (NYSE:BA) said today that it will start modifying the battery of its Boeing 787 Dreamliner after the United States Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) approved the installation of its proposed battery system improvements, which will lead to the resumption of its service and new production deliveries.
The company already deployed teams of engineers and technicians to various locations worldwide to begin the installation of improved battery systems on Boeing 787 airplanes. According to the company, the kits with the all the necessary parts for the new battery systems as well as new batteries, will be shipped immediately.
In a statement, Jim McNerney, president and CEO of The Boeing Company (NYSE:BA) said, the “”FAA approval clears the way for us and the airlines to begin the process of returning the 787 to flight with continued confidence in the safety and reliability of this game-changing new airplane. The promise of the 787 and the benefits it provides to airlines and their passengers remain fully intact as we take this important step forward with our customers and program partners.”
According to the company, the FAA gave its clearance to install the improved battery systems modification for the Boeing 787 after conducting an extensive review of certification tests, which were designed to ensure that the individual components of the battery and the integration with the system and new enclosure perform as expected during normal operation and under failure conditions.
The Boeing Company (NYSE:BA) president and CEO of Commercial Airplanes Ray Conner, stated that its team of engineers and technicians worked tirelessly to develop a comprehensive solution that completely satisfies the FAA and its global counterparts. He said, “Through the skill and dedication of the Boeing team and our partners, we achieved that objective and made a great airplane even better.”
In February, the airplane manufacturer submitted its long-term solution for the problematic Boeing 787 batteries. The Boeing Company (NYSE:BA) proposed to overhaul the two-types of lithium-ion batteries used in the airplanes to ensure that the occurrence of short-circuiting that could lead to fire will be contained and prevent the fire from spreading from one battery cell to the other.
The problematic batteries of the Boeing 787 kept the airplanes grounded worldwide over safety issues. Japan’s Nippon Airways and Japan Airlines Co Ltd (TYO:9201) operates 17 and 8 Boeing 787 airplanes, respectively. Both airline companies grounded their aircrafts in January after authorities launched investigations on two Japan Airlines’ Boeing 787 airplanes after one of the aircraft experienced a fuel leak while moving on the taxiway for departure at the Boston Logan International Airport while the other was caught in fire while parking a day earlier.
According to The Boeing Company (NYSE:BA), a team of approximately 30 technicians were already in Japan to start installing the new battery systems improvement for the Boeing 787 airplanes.
“This is a comprehensive and permanent solution with multiple layers of protection. The ultimate layer of protection is the new enclosure, which will ensure that even if a battery fails, there is no impact to the airplane and no possibility of fire. We have the right solution in hand, and we are ready to go,” said Conner.
Larry Loftis, vice president and general manager of the 787 program also said, “We are modifying in the order in which we delivered the planes.” According to him, Japanese regulators also approved the installation of the modification kits, which include a new steel containment box for the battery, a new venting system, battery chargers, wiring, and other related hardware built by The Boeing Company (NYSE:BA).
According to Loftis, the modified batteries have better insulation between the cells. GS Yuasa will ship the new batteries. He said, “We will be working 24 hours a day with our crews and going absolutely all out to support our customers.”
In addition, Loftis said, “I am not expecting anything out of the ordinary” in the recertification of the 787 by foreign regulators. “They have the documentation and the analysis we have done. I would expect them to grant their approvals in the near future.”