Boeing asks FAA to allow 787 test flights
By Bloomberg News
Published: Wednesday, Feb. 6, 2013, 12:01 a.m.
Boeing Co. asked the Federal Aviation Administration for approval to resume test flights with the 787 Dreamliner while the plane remains grounded during an investigation of battery faults.
The FAA was still considering that request on Tuesday, said an agency official, who asked not to be identified because the details aren't yet public. Boeing would operate any such flights with existing test aircraft, Marc Birtel, a company spokesman, said on Monday.
Flying test planes would let Boeing study the Dreamliner's lithium-ion power packs while the 50 787s in service stay parked. Regulators and Boeing are still trying to determine what caused a battery fire on one jet and a cockpit warning that spurred an emergency landing by another, which in turn triggered grounding orders worldwide on Jan. 16.
“Flight tests are the best way to get to the root cause,” Stephen Levenson, an analyst at Stifel Nicolaus & Co. in New York, said on Tuesday in a note to investors. Levenson said he expects the FAA to approve the flights.
Boeing rose 0.9 percent to $75.89 at the close in New York. That pared the stock's decline to 2.3 percent since Jan. 4, the last trading day before the battery fire, compared with a 3.1 percent gain for the Standard & Poor's 500 Index.
The planemaker “has submitted an application to conduct test flights, and it is currently under evaluation by the FAA,” Birtel said in an e-mail.
He wouldn't say when or where Chicago-based Boeing might conduct any tests, or with how many planes.
Boeing performed thousands of hours of tests on the six-jet development fleet before the plane's 2011 commercial debut.
Safety officials outside the United States joined the FAA's order to airlines to park their Dreamliners after a fire in the lithium-ion power pack of a Japan Airlines 787 in Boston and a battery warning on an All Nippon Airways flight that forced an emergency landing.
Those directives marooned some 787s far from airlines' bases.
State-run Air India was allowed to fly Dreamliners to Mumbai for maintenance after its six 787s were scattered, with four in Delhi and one each in Chennai and Bangalore, Director General of Civil Aviation Arun Mishra said.
U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood said federal regulators would wait until the battery probe is complete before allowing any test flights for Boeing production aircraft or so-called ferry flights to let airlines reposition any stranded Dreamliners.
“There's a focus on the batteries, and we're going to continue to let the people doing the investigation finish their work,” LaHood told reporters before touring the Washington Auto Show.
FAA Administrator Michael Huerta met last week with investigators in Seattle, LaHood said.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Twitter buys data analytics partner
- Coca-Cola revenue up, but soda sales dip
- Consumer price index up 0.2 percent in March
- Programs help to nudge unemployment among veterans downward
- Heinz offers Pittsburgh workers a buyout if they are unhappy
- Fed chair might push for stronger regulations
- Tobacco companies make payments under state settlement
- Google files patent for camera embedded in contact lens
- Recall puts GM sales under microscope
- Stocks seesaw, end higher for 2nd day
- Robinson bakehouse invests time, love in artisan products