FAA says Boeing's 787 Dreamliner is safe

Boeing and the government agency believe that the Dreamliner is air-worthy and its design and production process is safe.
By Ananth Baliga  |  March 19, 2014 at 2:38 PM
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Boeing and the Federal Aviation Administration announced Wednesday that the 787 Dreamliner is safe, following concerns regarding its lithium-ion batteries.

The aerospace company's newest aircraft was plagued with battery related issues after an empty Japan Airlines jet parked in Boston caught fire and a few days later an All Nippon Airways flight made an emergency landing in Japan because of a smoldering battery. The review which started January 2013 ended Wednesday with the report stating that the "787 meets the intended high level of safety expected by the FAA and Boeing."

According to the review, the investigation went beyond only batteries and examined the processes behind the design, certification, and production of the Dreamliner. The review had seven recommendations for Boeing related to focusing on inspections and oversight during the assembly of high-risk areas of the plane as it is developed.

"We concluded that the aircraft was soundly designed, and that Boeing and the FAA had processes in place that were designed to identify and correct any issue that might arise during the manufacturing process," FAA Administrator Michael Huerta said. "It's many layered. You don't have single points of failure."

Boeing Commercial Airplanes CEO Ray Conner said the company was already taking significant steps to implement the recommendations.

"The findings validate our confidence in both the design of the airplane and the disciplined process used to identify and correct in-service issues as they arise," Conner said.

Following the fires, the FAA grounded six 787s in the U.S., which led to all 49 planes in service at that time being grounded worldwide. The National Transportation Safety Board is still investigating the cause of the Boston fire.

Boeing has so far delivered 65 Dreamliners and expects to deliver 110 this year, with the aim of selling 3,300 of the jets during the next 20 years.

[FAA] [USAToday]

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