Dreamliner almost clear for take-off as Boeing apologises

 

Boeing's Dreamliner could be back in the skies before the end of the month – despite a top boss admitting it has not 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 there to be 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 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 $600 million (£395 million).

“There’s no question we’ve disappointed our customers. But we’re getting the plane back in the sky and we hope they’ll forgive us.”

The Dreamliner’s modifications take five days to complete and flights will then resume once airlines receive local regulators’ approval.

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

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