Customers back proposed 787 battery fix: Boeing chief

Singapore
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Boeing Commercial Airplanes chief executive Ray Conner says the airframer has received much support from its customers for its efforts in addressing the battery issues that have led to the worldwide grounding of the 787.

Conner was speaking at a technical briefing on its proposed solution to the 787 battery issue, which is centred around a redesigned layout of the lithium-ion cells, a new containment system and changes to the charging system to prevent overcharging.

He says that Boeing has been talking "on a daily basis" with its 787 customers and has received strong backing from them for its proposed solution.

"Customers in general, across the board, have been extremely, extremely supportive of what we are doing," says Conner.

He adds that none of the airlines that have ordered 787s have indicated that they will not take delivery of their aircraft, while existing operators such as Japan Airlines (JAL), All Nippon Airways (ANA) and Qatar Airways are keen to ensure that their jets are not grounded for the long term.

"They are looking forward to returning to flight and are very confident that we have this solution in place," says Conner.

Boeing has not given a timeline of when it expects the 787 to return to the air, noting that it would be dependent on the certification process with the US Federal Aviation Administration.

Once it is certified, Boeing will prioritise deploying the battery solution on the 51 787s that have already been delivered, followed by aircraft awaiting delivery in Everett and Charleston, and finally integrate the change into its production line.

The FAA grounded all US-registered 787s on 16 January following a second battery incident that forced an ANA-operated 787 to divert to Takamatsu. The incident was preceded by a separate battery incident involving a JAL 787 at Boston's Logan International Airport.