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Carriers set dates for Dreamliner return

Published: 08/04/2013 - Filed under: News »

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Airlines have started making tentative plans to bring their Dreamliners back into service over the next few months.

All 50 Boeing 787s currently in service have been grounded since January because of ongoing problems with the safety of the aircraft’s onboard batteries (see online news March 15, 2013).

Boeing successfully completed its final “certification test” flight in the US on Friday (April 5) for its redesigned battery system. The manufacturer will now submit details of the changes and tests to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) for approval to allow the Dreamliner back into service.

United plans to resume B787 flights on May 31 on its Houston to Denver route while the Dreamliner is now planned to make its debut on the Heathrow-Houston route from June 10, according to the latest flight schedule information.

The US airline plans to use the Dreamliner on one of its three daily Heathrow-Houston flights, replacing a Boeing 767 currently serving the route.

Meanwhile Qatar Airways plans to resume its Dreamliner flights from Doha to Heathrow from May 15, followed by B787 services to Munich, Frankfurt and Zurich in late May and early June. But the airline warned that resumption of Dreamliner flights “remains subject to change”.

Boeing said that its final test flight for the new battery system had been “straightforward” and “uneventful”.

“The purpose of the flight was to demonstrate that the new battery system performs as intended during normal and non-normal flight conditions,” added Boeing in a statement.

“Boeing will now gather and analyse the data and submit the required materials to the FAA. We expect to deliver all of the materials to the FAA in the coming days. Once we deliver the materials we stand ready to reply to additional requests and continue in dialogue with the FAA to ensure we have met all of their expectations.”

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Report by Rob Gill

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