Japanese authorities on Friday followed the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration in formally approving Boeing’s modifications to the 787’s battery system. The approval from the Japan Civil Aviation Bureau (JCAB) officially clears All Nippon Airways and Japan Airlines to start preparing their fleets for a return to service. The FAA on Thursday issued a superseding Advisory Directive that effectively clears United Airlines to resume 787 operations once it completes its modifications.
Five Boeing support teams have begun working with ANA technicians to replace the batteries, modify the chargers and install new battery containment boxes and venting systems. ANA said the improvements will take roughly one week to complete and that it expected to finish work on all 17 of its 787s by the end of May.
Plans call for each modified airplane in ANA’s fleet to undergo a proving flight, the first of which it expects to occur on April 28 out of Tokyo Haneda Airport. The airline also said it would install systems on all its 787s to monitor battery performance. After the batteries operate in service for a “specified” period of time, it will remove each one for inspection to verify the effectiveness of the improvements, it added. The airline has scheduled cockpit crews to undergo “extensive” training involving some 230 flights and simulator time before they return to operating scheduled flights. Finally, ANA has established a dedicated website to inform the public about the progress of the retrofit program and “other safety and certification initiatives.”
Meanwhile, Boeing engineers on Friday began installing the new systems on two of JAL’s airplanes, one based at Haneda and the other at Tokyo Narita International Airport. JAL did not estimate when any of its seven airplanes would return to service.