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FAA approves Boeing's 787 design changes

By control on April 19, 2013

The Federal Aviation Administration approved Boeing's design Friday for modifications to the 787 battery system, taking the next step to allow the 787 to fly again.

The changes are designed to address risks at the battery cell level, the battery level and the aircraft level.

"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," Boeing Chairman, president and CEO Jim McNerney said. "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."

Next week, the FAA will issue instructions to operators for making changes to the aircraft and will publish in the Federal Register the final directive that will allow the 787 to return to service with the battery system modifications.

"Safety of the traveling public is our No. 1 priority,” transportation secretary Ray LaHood said. “These changes to the 787 battery will ensure the safety of the aircraft and its passengers."

The FAA will require airlines that operate the 787 to install containment and venting systems for the main and auxiliary system batteries and to replace the batteries and their chargers with modified components.

"A team of FAA certification specialists observed rigorous tests we required Boeing to perform and devoted weeks to reviewing detailed analysis of the design changes to reach this decision," FAA Administrator Michael Huerta said.

In order to assure proper installation of the new design, the FAA will monitor modifications of the aircraft in the U.S. fleet with teams of inspectors at the modification locations.

Any return to service of the modified 787 will only take place after the FAA accepts the work.

The FAA will continue to support other authorities around the globe as they finalize their own acceptance procedures.

"Our team has worked tirelessly to develop a comprehensive solution that fully satisfies the FAA and its global counterparts, our customers and our own high standards for safety and reliability," Boeing Commercial Airplanes president and CEO Ray Conner said. "Through the skill and dedication of the Boeing team and our partners, we achieved that objective and made a great airplane even better."