Reports from around the world indicated the Boeing 787 may be cleared to fly commercially by FAA this month and perhaps within the next week. FAA and Boeing are not commenting.
In Japan, where All Nippon Airways (ANA) and Japan Airlines operated 24 of the 50 787s that were in service when the Dreamliner fleet was grounded Jan. 16, Nikkei reported that FAA has informed Japanese government officials of its intention to approve Boeing’s fix for the 787’s battery system.
In the US, Reuters, citing sources familiar with the matter, reported FAA could give an initial approval as early as next week that would start the process of allowing the 787 to return to service “within weeks.” Reuters cautioned, however, that its sources said the timing of the initial approval is not fixed and “could still be delayed,” adding, “It’s also possible that extra steps could be added to the approval process.”
In Ethiopia, Associated Press reported that Ethiopian Airlines CEO Tewolde Gebremariam told the newswire the airline expects FAA to approve the 787 for flight “within a few days.”
FAA administrator Michael Huerta told Congress this week the agency will clear the 787 to fly commercially “once we are satisfied Boeing has shown the redesigned battery system meets FAA requirements.”
The US National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) will next week hold a two-day hearing on the Jan. 7 Japan Airlines 787 fire in Boston, one of two incidents that led to the grounding of the fleet. ANA, the worldwide launch customer for the 787, and United Airlines, the US launch customer, have indicated in their schedules that the Dreamliner will be available for operation by late May or early June.