The Federal Aviation Administration said Friday it received a formal proposal from Boeing to fix the 787 Dreamliner’s battery problems and “will analyze it closely."
But the agency indicated it won’t rush to get the Dreamliners back in the air despite the crisis that the grounding of the planes has brought to Boeing and its customers.
“The safety of the flying public is our top priority, and we won’t allow the 787 to return to commercial service until we’re confident that any proposed solution has addressed the battery failure risks," an FAA statement said.
The Dreamliners have been grounded since mid-January after two battery failures caused a battery fire in a jet on the ground in Boston and then a smoldering battery on a flight in Japan.
A Boeing team led by Commercial Airplanes chief Ray Conner presented the proposal in Washington, D.C., on Friday afternoon to FAA head Michael Huerta, Deputy Transportation Secretary John Porcari and other FAA officials.
Boeing issued a short statement saying the two sides had “a productive meeting," providing no further detail.
Boeing’s proposed fix, according to multiple sources, includes:
• A stronger, sealed containment box around each battery;
• A system of venting tubes that in case of an incident would channel any flammable vapors or liquids directly out of the airplane;
• Continuous monitoring of temperature and voltage of individual cells within the battery;
• Better thermal separation of the cells, with some barrier such as high-temperature glass inserted between them.