Boeing team arriving next week to fix Dreamliner battery fault

Last Updated: Sun, Apr 28, 2013 11:13 hrs

A team of engineers from US aerospace giant Boeing is arriving here on Tuesday to reset the batteries of six Dreamliner aircraft of Air India which are grounded since January after battery fire incidents, sources in the national carrier said.

The Government-run airline plans to put back at least two of the six grounded planes into operations by May 10.

"A team of around 30 engineers is coming to India to reset the batteries of the grounded planes (Boeing-787s) to enable them to fly again," the sources told PTI here today.

The team, after its arrival, is expected to work on these planes round-the-clock as the airline plans to make all six Dreamliner aircraft operational by the May-end, they said.

"As of now we plan to put into service the first aircraft on May 5 and the second by May 9 once the batteries are reset," the sources said.

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), the US aviation regulator, has approved Boeing's revamped battery system for these new generation long-haul aircraft.

Following the battery fire incidents in January this year, the entire global fleet of 50 Boeing-787s, owned by eight airlines, including Air India, was grounded.

According to US media reports, the FAA estimates the cost to airlines of modifying each jet with two of Boeing's beefed-up lithium ion batteries, containment boxes and venting tubes at USD 464,678.

For Air India's six 787s, total modification cost will come at USD 2.8 million and just over USD 23 million for all 50 jets in service worldwide, the reports said.

The Indian Government has made it clear that it would seek compensation from Boeing for the disruption caused by the grounding of 787s as Air India has been losing an estimated Rs 20 crore each week.

As per US media, Boeing CEO Jim McNerney reportedly said last week there were no contractual obligations to compensate airlines for the lost revenue. "But having said that, there are a few places where we'll work with our customers," McNerney added.

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