(NEW YORK) — Boeing’s new and improved 787 Dreamliners are returning to service.
The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration on Friday approved the aircraft’s battery system improvements, clearing the way for Boeing and its customers to resume Dreamliner flights.
Boeing CEO Jim McNerney said Friday that the company maintains “confidence in the safety and reliability of this game-changing new airplane.”
“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,” he added.
U.S. and Japanese regulators took all 50 Dreamliners out of service in January after batteries on two of its flights overheated.
In one incident, a lithium-ion battery caught fire on a Japan Airlines flight parked at Boston’s Logan Airport. In another, smoke from a battery system on an All Nippon Airways flight in Japan forced an emergency landing.
For now, the Dreamliner will resume flights only in the U.S. as Boeing awaits approval for its modifications by regulatory authorities abroad.
Before Boeing’s repairs could gain FAA approval, the company collaborated with its suppliers on an extensive engineering analysis for an investigation by the Transportation Safety Board and the Japan Transport Safety Board. The tests, Boeing said, were to “develop a thorough understanding of the factors that could have caused the 787’s batteries to fail and overheat” last January.
“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,” said Boeing Commercial Airplanes President and CEO Ray Conner. “Through the skill and dedication of the Boeing team and our partners, we achieved that objective and made a great airplane even better.”
Once Boeing has completed the installation of the new batteries in all of its Dreamliners, the company expects to resume flights “in the weeks ahead.”
Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio
John Newsome and Anne Woolsey, CNN