Boeing May Offer Interim 787 Fix Soon, Seattle Times Says

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 the people.

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.

The Times story contains speculation, Boeing spokesman Marc Birtel said in an e-mail to Bloomberg News, without elaborating.

“The company’s focus is on resolving the issue and returning the 787 fleet to flight status,” he said in the e-mail. “We are working tirelessly in cooperation with our customers and the appropriate regulatory and investigative authorities. Everyone is working to get to the answer as quickly as possible and good progress is being made.”

A FAA spokesman wasn’t available for comment when contacted by Bloomberg News.