At a briefing in Tokyo, Boeing executives detailed their 787 Dreamliner battery fix and said the jet could be back in the air within weeks.
Boeing CEO Ray Conner and vice president of the 787 systems, Mike Sinnett, were confident that the new fixes would eliminate all risk of fire or smoke from the lithium-ion batteries.
After a flurry of overheating battery problems and emergency landings in Japan, the Federal Aviation Administration in January ordered all U.S.-based airlines to ground Boeing 787 Dreamliners until it’s proven that the batteries are safe and in compliance. Japanese regulators also shut down 787 operation.
Though Sinnett admitted that Boeing had not pinpointed the exact cause of the battery problems, he said that the new steel layer of protection will prevent the possibility of another fire.
On Tuesday, the Federal Aviation Administration approved Boeing’s certification plan to test the 787 Dreamliner’s battery system. Boeing said that process is a third of the way done and expects it to be completed within weeks.
Boeing chose to make the announcement in Japan because nearly half of the 787′s grounded since January are from Japanese airlines and the battery maker is based in Japan.