Boeing has faced difficulties with the 787′s lithium ion batteries overheating. The problem caused an ANA flight to make an emergency landing in Japan four months ago. After that incident and a similar one in Boston, the plane was grounded worldwide.
Boeing went back to the drawing board and improved the battery system so that fires would be less likely and easier to control if they do occur. ANA, Japan’s biggest airline, owns 17 of the Dreamliner crafts. The airline said it tested the planes on 170 flights and gave cockpit crews additional training.
President and Chief Executive Officer of ANA, Osamu Shinobe, assured customers, “The safety of passengers is our number one priority.” Shinobe also expressed his excitement about returning the innovative aircraft to use. “The 787 remains a game-changing aircraft, important from an environmental, efficiency, and passenger comfort perspective,” he said.
Earlier in the week China announced it would return the 787 to use. Other foreign carriers, including Ethiopian Airlines, Air India, and Qatar Airways, have followed suit. United Airlines, owned by United Continental Holdings (NYSE:UAL), is the only American carrier of the 787. United has said it will put the plane back into service on a flight between Denver and Tokyo on June 10.
Troubles with the 787 Dreamliner hurt airlines that had invested millions in the new jets. The 787 is made from lightweight carbon composites rather than aluminum or steel, an innovation making the craft more fuel efficient. Airlines had been counting on the 787 to make long-haul trips less expensive, and it appears as though they won’t have to wait any longer to see those savings.
Boeing shares have crossed the $100 mark for the first time since October 2007, and the company is hopeful about future growth.
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