The worldwide investigation into Boeing’s 787 Dreamliner aircraft amidst fears regarding its safety has concluded that the airplane’s battery is not at fault as first thought.
US safety officials have ruled out overcharging as the cause of the battery fire, and are now focusing on the aircraft’s battery charger and auxiliary power unit.
UK airlines Thomson Airways and British Airways are both scheduled to receive their first Dreamliner aircraft in May this year, but this is now in doubt since – as of Friday January 18 – Boeing has put deliveries of the aircraft on hold until the Federal Aviation Administration has approved its plan to assure the battery’s safety.
The global grounding of Dreamliner aircraft came last week after Japan-based All Nippon Airways was forced to make an emergency landing during one of its flights when a warning light came on in the cockpit and indicated a battery problem. Japanese investigators said that the problem could be due to an overcharging battery, but the US National Transportation Safety Board has now said that overcharging was not the cause of the incident.
In a statement, the NTSB said, ‘Examination of the flight recorder data from the JAL B787 airplane indicates that the APU (auxiliary power unit) battery did not exceed its designed voltage of 32 volts.’
Randy Tinseth, Boeing’s commercial aircraft marketing vice president, commented, ‘The company is working around the clock with its customers and the various regulatory and investigative authorities. We will make available the entire resources of The Boeing Company to assist. We are confident the 787 is safe and we stand behind its overall integrity. We will be taking every necessary step in the coming days to assure our customers and the travelling public of the 787′s safety and to return the airplanes to service. According to the FAA’s recent announcement, operations can resume once airlines have demonstrated the batteries are safe. Boeing is working with the FAA to define that process and timeline.’