On March 12, 2013, the Federal Aviation Administration announced that it has approved Boeing’s certification plan for a redesigned 787 battery system. The FAA stated in its press release that it had thoroughly reviewed Boeing’s proposed modifications and the company’s plan to demonstrate that the system will meet FAA requirements. This plan is just the first step in Boeing’s efforts to get the 787’s back in the air. The FAA will require Boeing to conduct extensive testing and analysis to demonstrate compliance with the applicable safety regulations and special conditions.
In the press release, Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood emphasized that the FAA “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.” As part of the certification process, the FAA agreed to limited test flights for two aircraft with the new containment system installed in order to validate the aircraft instrumentation for the battery and battery enclosure testing.
FAA concluded that although the certification plan has been approved, the FAA’s January 16, 2013 airworthiness directive, which required operators to cease 787 operations, is still in effect. Although there is a now a plan in place for certification of the battery redesign, the FAA stated that it is continuing its comprehensive review of the 787 design, production and manufacturing process.