Boeing cleared one of the last hurdles in its campaign to return the 787 to service Friday afternoon, when the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration announced it had approved its design modifications for the airplane’s battery system. The FAA said the changes address risks at the battery cell level, the battery level and the aircraft level.
The FAA said it would issue instructions to operators for making changes to the aircraft next week and publish a final directive in the Federal Register to allow the 787 to return to service. The directive will require 787 operators to install containment and venting systems for the main and auxiliary system batteries, and to replace the batteries and their chargers with modified components.
“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.
The FAA said it would closely monitor modifications of the aircraft in the U.S. fleet to ensure proper compliance with instructions. The agency added that it would stage teams of inspectors at the modification locations and not allow any airplane to return to service until after it accepts the work.
Finally, the FAA said it would continue to support other authorities around the world as they finalize their own acceptance procedures.