Boeing Allowed More Dreamliner Test Flights by U.S. Regulators

Boeing Co. will be permitted to conduct additional test flights to speed efforts toward a resolution of battery faults that grounded the 787 Dreamliner fleet.

The test flights will be subject to restrictions, including that they be conducted over unpopulated areas, the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration said in a statement today.

Investigators and Boeing are trying to determine what caused a battery fire on a Japan Airlines Co. plane in Boston and a cockpit warning that spurred an emergency landing in Japan by an All Nippon Airways Co. 787 last month. Those incidents triggered grounding orders worldwide starting Jan. 16.

The agency allowed Boeing to make one flight with a Dreamliner today, under the condition that only the crew would be on board, that special checks of the battery and system would be performed, and that the aircraft would land immediately if there were any indications of a battery fault.

The plane landed by Boeing’s wide-body factory in Everett, Washington, after an “uneventful” flight, said Marc Birtel, a Boeing spokesman.