April 27 - Representatives from aircraft manufacturer Boeing say the Dreamliner 787s are flight ready after being grounded for months due to overheating batteries. Jessica Gray reports.
The Boeing 787 Dreamliner. The aircraft had been grounded since January following two separate cases of batteries overheating, calling into question the safety of the plane. But Boeing says the plane is safe and ready to return to the air after getting U.S. approval for its lithium-ion battery fix. Company representatives say the reinforced batteries have solved the problem, even though the root cause of the overheating issue wasn't discovered. (SOUNDBITE) (English) BOEING CHIEF ENGINEER AND 787 PROJECT LEADER MICHAEL SINNETT SAYING: "Because we know that the enclosure can protect the airplane from the worst case battery failure, in some ways it almost doesn't matter what the root cause was." Japan has already approved Dreamliner flights to resume operations, as long as the planes boast the new reinforced batteries. (SOUNDBITE) (English) BOEING CHIEF ENGINEER AND 787 PROJECT LEADER MICHAEL SINNETT SAYING: "And while we deeply regret the impact that this has had to our customers and to the flying public, especially here in Japan where so many of these airplanes are operated, we believe our solution is comprehensive and we know that our airplane is safe." Japanese airlines own almost half of the 787s delivered so far. According to Boeing, the forced grounding has not affected the company's production goals or plans to boost its manufacturing schedule for the aircraft by the end of the year.