Boeing pitches Dreamliner fix to Japan

Feb. 28, 2013 at 11:10 AM
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TOKYO, Feb. 28 (UPI) -- A Boeing official in Japan said he was working on a definitive solution to returning grounded 787 Dreamliner passenger jets back into service.

"What we did today was discuss these solutions that we are looking at that could be final solutions," said Raymond Conner, the head of Boeing's commercial airplane operations, after meeting with Akihiro Ota, Japan's transportation minister, The New York Times reported Thursday.

Japanese regulators, however, are concerned that an electrical short could trigger another emergency situation in the new jets, 50 of which have been sold to eight airlines, including two airlines in Japan.

The incidents that prompted the grounding of 787s around the world occurred in Japan and in Boston. In a Jan. 7 incident, the lithium-ion batteries aboard a Japan Airlines 787 caught fire while the plane was on the runway. In the other incident, an All Nippon Dreamliner had to make an emergency landing due to smoke that involved the jet's batteries.

Boeing says it has a fix for the problem, and U.S. investigators have said no electrical surge caused the fires.

Japanese officials may or may not buy into Boeing's fix. It has added protections, but they do not match Japanese concerns, the Times reported.

The batteries were made by a Japanese firm, GS Yuasa.

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