News Column

First Dreamliner Flight Since Groundings Lands in Nairobi

April 27, 2013

Addis Ababa (dpa) - Ethiopian Airlines Saturday flew the first passenger flight using Boeing's 787 Dreamliner since the aircraft was grounded worldwide in January after battery malfunctions.

The flight took off from Addis Ababa and landed without incident in Nairobi, completing a two-hour journey, the airline said.

US regulators issued an air-worthiness directive for the aircraft Thursday after Boeing Co offered solutions to the battery problems. The directive allowed airlines to again use the plane.

Ethiopian Airlines said its Dreamliner took off after it had installed modified lithium-ion battery systems and conducted a test flight.

It owns four of the 50 Dreamliners in operation in the world. Boeing plans to complete repairs on all Dreamliners by the end of next month.

Boeing's newest plane was grounded after battery problems in January forced an All Nippon Airways Dreamliner to make an emergency landing in western Japan and an empty jet operated by Japan Airlines suffered an electrical fire at Boston's Logan International Airport.

Despite the decision by regulators to allow the Dreamliner to fly again, US and Japanese authorities were still investigating the two incidents.

During his visit to Tokyo in March, Mike Sinnett, Boeing's chief project engineer for the aircraft, said engineers had spent more than 200,000 hours looking into the battery problems and found 80 possible causes.

But "we may never get to the single root cause," Sinnett said.

The grounding was estimated to have cost Boeing an estimated 600 million dollars, according to US media. The plane entered service in 2011.

Source: Copyright 2013 dpa Deutsche Presse-Agentur GmbH

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