The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) today took the next step in returning the Boeing 787 to flight by approving Boeing’s design for modifications to the 787 battery system. The changes are designed to address risks at the battery cell level, the battery level and the aircraft level.
Next week, the FAA will issue instructions to operators for making changes to the aircraft and will publish in the Federal Register the final directive that will allow the 787 to return to service with the battery system modifications. The directive will take effect upon publication. The FAA will require airlines that operate the 787 to install containment and venting systems for the main and auxiliary system batteries, and to replace the batteries and their chargers with modified components.
“Safety of the traveling public is our number one priority. These changes to the 787 battery will ensure the safety of the aircraft and its passengers,” said Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood.
“A team of FAA certification specialists observed rigorous tests we required Boeing to perform and devoted weeks to reviewing detailed analysis of the design changes to reach this decision,” said FAA Administrator Michael Huerta.
To assure proper installation of the new design, the FAA will closely monitor modifications of the aircraft in the U.S. fleet. The FAA will stage teams of inspectors at the modification locations. Any return to service of the modified 787 will only take place after the FAA accepts the work.
As the certifying authority, the FAA will continue to support other authorities around the world as they finalize their own acceptance procedures.