Japanese air safety officials were expected to lift the order on Friday that has kept Boeing Co. (NYSE:BA) 787 Dreamliners owned by the country’s two top carriers grounded for the past three months because of on-board lithium ion battery problems.
Such a decision opens the way for the country’s two major carriers -- All Nippon Airways (TYO:9202) and Japan Airlines (TYO:9201) -- to begin the process of putting their Dreamliner jets back into service.
An announcement was expected on Friday, the same day the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration is expected to formally sign-off on flights, the Wall Street Journal reports. The Japanese carriers aren’t expected to resume Dreamliner flights until June. The carriers together have 24 of the 787s, or nearly half of the 50 planes in service
Ethiopian Airlines said earlier this week it would resume 787 flights on Saturday, Reuters reports.
For Boeing, the sooner the jets return to service the better. As of March, the Chicago-based aerospace company had 840 unfilled deliveries for the two 787 models. Polish national carrier LOT said it would resume flights of its two 787s on June 5, the Associated Press reports.
Last week, the FAA opened the way for Boeing Company (NYSE:BA) to begin approved fixes of the problems, including adding a harder stainless steel shell to the body of the battery packs, which operate many of the plane’s electrical systems while its engines are off.
Hundreds of engineers and mechanics have been deployed to nine countries to begin repairs. The Dreamliner has been grounded since Jan. 16 so that Boeing and air transport officials can figure out why a battery pack in one jet caught fire and another smoldered. The two separate incidents occurred on planes owned by the Japanese airlines.