Boeing 787 testing more than half done

2013-04-04 06:16

New York - Boeing said it has finished more than half of the testing on its proposed battery fix for the 787, with the rest of the ground and flight tests coming in the next several days.

The test results so far have been in line with the testing Boeing did when it was developing the fix, spokesman Marc Birtel said Wednesday.

Smoldering batteries — including one fire on the ground — prompted air safety authorities to ground the world's 787s in mid-January. Boeing has developed what it believes is a permanent fix, including more heat insulation and a system for venting battery gases outside of the plane.

The tests under way now are aimed at demonstrating that the fix worked. Ultimately, the Federal Aviation Administration will have to certify the changes before the planes fly again.

Ground testing is continuing at Boeing labs in Seattle. Boeing is giving results to the FAA as they are finished.

The testing has been taking longer than Boeing had originally suggested when it announced the fix for the 787's smoldering batteries on March 15.

"We are all working toward returning the 787 fleet to service in the most expeditious manner possible, but we are being thorough and won't shortcut the test and certification process," Birtel said in a written statement.

Boeing said a 787 test flight on Wednesday was unrelated to testing its battery fix. The flight was a "routine test flight designed to address some of the component reliability projects" it has been working on, the company said. A demonstration flight for the battery fix "will take place in the coming days," Boeing said.

Meanwhile new orders for the 787 had nearly dried up since the plane was grounded. On Wednesday, though, International Airlines Group said it would convert options for 18 787s into firm orders for its British Airways unit, according to a securities filing in Spain. The planes will replace 747-400s starting in 2017.

The company also said it has agreed to terms that could lead to an additional 787 order for its Spanish airline, Iberia. The deal won't turn into a firm order until Iberia restructures and reduces expenses "and is in a position to grow profitably," IAG said.

The only other 787 order Boeing has booked this year is for 42 planes for American Airlines. That deal was reached in 2011 but needed bankruptcy court approval.

Before the announcement Wednesday, Boeing had a backlog of orders for 841 of the planes. It is continuing to build them, even though it can't deliver them now. With planes still rolling off production lines, 15 have been added to its inventory, on top of about 41 planes in inventory at the end of last year, UBS analyst David Strauss wrote on Monday.

The National Transportation Safety Board plans a hearing into the battery problems on April 23 and 24th.

Boeing Co. shares rose 27 cents to close at $84.36 on Wednesday.

Read more on:    flights  |  travel international

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

SHARE: publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside Travel


#FindYourEscape with Traveller24

Your insider guide to exploring South Africa and the world...
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.