Boeing exec in Japan on Dreamliner mission
A senior Boeing executive was in Tokyo to meet government officials on Thursday as reports emerged that the planemaker was at odds with its battery supplier over how to fix the grounded Dreamliner.
- Published: 28/02/2013 at 11:43 AM
- Newspaper section: news
A National Transportation Safety Board image from January 16, 2013 shows a burnt battery removed from a Japan Airlines Boeing 787 Dreamliner jet. A senior Boeing executive was in Tokyo to meet government officials on Thursday as reports emerged that the planemaker was at odds with its battery supplier over how to fix the grounded Dreamliner.
Japan's transport ministry said it was the first mission to the country by headquarter executives since the next generation 787 was ordered out of the skies in January following a series of incidents.
The mission, led by Raymond Conner, executive vice president of Boeing and head of commercial airplanes, will meet transport minister Akihiro Ota, an official said.
"They have said they want to explain what Boeing is studying over the battery issue," said the official, who is in charge of aircraft safety at the ministry.
The visit came as the Wall Street Journal reported Boeing was in disagreement with GS Yuasa, the company that makes the lithium-ion batteries at the centre of the worldwide safety probe, over what remedial measures to take.
Boeing last week told the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and the US Department of Transportation what it intended to do to fix problems behind incidents in which one battery caught fire and another emitted smoke.
The company, which has bet heavily on its lightweight plane at a time airlines are crying out for ways to slash fuel costs, desperately wants to get it back in the air.
But the paper, citing sources familiar with the matter, said Japanese battery maker GS Yuasa believes Boeing's package of fixes will not eliminate all possible risks to the power pack.
A probe has found short circuits caused a rapid rise in battery temperatures, but the search for the root of the short circuit has so far proved elusive.
A spokesman for GS Yuasa told AFP the company had no comment on the paper's report.
The worldwide grounding of all 50 Dreamliners in service has thrown airline schedules into disarray, especially in Japan where All Nippon Airways (ANA), the biggest operator of the plane, has been forced to cancel more than 3,600 flights through to the end of May.
About the author
- Writer: AFP
- Position: News agency