Boeing Co. may suggest a temporary fix to improve the 787’s ability to withstand overheating of its lithium-ion batteries as soon as this week, the Seattle Times reported, citing unidentified people familiar with the plan.
The plan calls for a titanium or steel box to be put around the battery cells, and high-pressure tubes to be installed to vent gases outside the aircraft in case of a fire, the newspaper said, citing unidentified people familiar with the matter.
If the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration were to agree to Boeing’s proposal, the earliest that the 787 Dreamliners could fly again with passengers would be May, the Times said, citing the need for design, testing and certification.
An unidentified government official was quoted by the Times as saying, “It wouldn’t surprise me if we’re still talking weeks before everyone is comfortable,” with the option.
Boeing spokesman Marc Birtel told the newspaper the company is confident in the safety and reliability of the batteries and is making “good progress” in solving the problem with overheating and fires.
Birtel didn’t immediately reply to a voicemail and e-mail sent by Bloomberg News seeking comment. A FAA spokesman wasn’t immediately available for comment when contacted by Bloomberg News.