Boeing Co. received initial approval from U.S. regulators to test its proposed changes to the 787 Dreamliner’s batteries, the first step toward resuming flights of a plane grounded worldwide for almost two months.
It’s unclear when the 787 will begin carrying passengers again. Boeing must perform tests to ensure that the battery’s new design meets safety regulations, and the agency could insist on more design changes, Federal Aviation Administrator Michael Huerta told Congress Feb. 28.
Still, the decision creates a path to return the 787 to service and signals the lithium-ion battery issues aren’t fatal to Chicago-based Boeing’s most sophisticated model. The worldwide fleet of 49 Dreamliners has been parked since Jan. 16 following two incidents of batteries overheating and smoking.