Monday, 1 April 2013

An inconvenient truth

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Having spent more than 200,000 man hours investigating battery fires on its grounded fleet of 787 Dreamliners, US airframe manufacturer Boeing is confident that a series of re-designs will allow the aircraft to resume flying within weeks. A three-layered approach to combatting the safety scare has delivered a "comprehensive set of solutions" that will ensure battery failures never endanger the safe operation of 787 flights, Boeing insisted in March.

But its proposed measures must first be approved by the US Federal Aviation Authority (FAA). The regulator has to date only rubber-stamped Boeing's certification plan – a "first step in the process to evaluate the 787’s return" that is contingent on "extensive testing and analysis". Even if the aircraft does return to the skies promptly, Boeing's admission that it "may never get to a single root cause" of the recent battery fires will rattle nerves among some passengers...