The Federal Aviation Administration announced today that it has approved Boeing’s “design for modifications to the 787 battery system.” The mostly composite airliner from Boeing has been grounded since January after a pair of incidents involving the lithium ion batteries used on the airplane.
“Safety of the traveling public is our number one priority,” Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood said in a statement from the FAA. “These changes to the 787 battery will ensure the safety of the aircraft and its passengers.”
Hints of an imminent approval began circulating Thursday after the plane maker was allowed to make a production flight test of a 787 destined for launch customer All Nippon Airways. The Japanese carrier experienced one of the battery failures back in January and with a fleet of 17 Dreamliners has had the most grounded airplanes for the past three months.
The FAA says it will issue instructions to operators of the 787 for changes that need to be made to the fleet in the United States, allowing the airplanes to return to service. Boeing will immediately be sending out it’s elite mechanics known as the aircraft on ground teams. This afternoon in a conference call with reporters Boeing said 10 of their AOG teams consisting of more than 300 employees in total are already traveling around the world to work with airlines in implementing the retrofits. Parts for the retrofits are required to be with Boeing until the approval was granted by the FAA, but the company says it has staged these parts at “Boeing bonded storage” locations worldwide.