Boeing gets battery test go-ahead

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Boeing gets battery test go-ahead

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US planemaker Boeing is one step closer to getting its troubled 787 Dreamliner back into regular service and ending losses of over 38 million euros a week.

US transport regulators have given the go-ahead for limited flights to start testing a redesigned battery following overheating problems.

Regulators grounded the 50 Dreamliners in use by airlines on Jan. 16 after a battery fire on a Japan Airlines 787 at Boston airport and a second battery incident on an All Nippon Airways flight in Japan.

Boeing halted deliveries of the lightweight aircraft, although its factories continue to make it.

“We won’t allow the plane to return to service unless we’re satisfied that the new design ensures the safety of the aircraft and its passengers,” US Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood said in a statement.

Boeing’s new battery – which it presented to the FAA in late February – is designed to minimise the chances of a short circuit, better insulates the cells within the battery, and adds a new containment and venting system to prevent damage even if the battery catches fire.

The FAA said the new design must pass a series of tests before it is approved and that the agency will be “closely involved” in the certification process.

At the same time it was reported that Boeing is close to selling 170 of its 737 planes to Irish low-cost carrier Ryanair.

Sources familiar with the deal have told news organisations, that the order was exclusively for the current generation 737NG jet.