ANA readies fleet as Japan OKs 787 flights

All Nippon Airways is preparing to return its fleet of 787s to commercial service after Japanese aviation officials signed off Friday on Boeing’s redesigned battery system.

The Dreamliner launch customer, however, won’t rush the 787s back into service after a three-month grounding, ANA President Osamu Shinobe indicated in a statement.

While the airline is “pleased” Japanese and U.S. aviation officials are satisfied with the battery fix, ANA will fly passengers on 787s “only when we are fully satisfied with the safety of our 787 fleet,” he said.

After a battery failed, an ANA 787 made an emergency landing in Japan on Jan. 15. It was the second battery failure in a 787 within two weeks, prompting aviation officials in Japan and the United States to ground the Dreamliner fleet. ANA had 17 Boeing 787s at time of the grounding.

The Federal Aviation Administration approved Boeing’s new lithium-ion battery system last Friday and officially lifted the 787’s grounding on Thursday.

ANA worked with Boeing during the investigation of the battery failure in Japan. The airline also verified Boeing’s proposed modification by working independently of the jet maker with 10 companies and research facilities in Japan, the airline said in a statement on its website.

Five Boeing teams are working with ANA to modify the fleet of 787s. Each modification takes about a week, the airline said. ANA hopes to finish modifying its fleet by the end of May.

ANA plans to put every 787 through a “proving” flight to ensure the modification work properly. The first such flight is scheduled for April 28.

Shinichiro Ito, chief executive officer of ANA, and Ray Conner, Boeing Commercial Airplanes President, will be on board the April 28 test flight, the airline said in a statement today.

To re-familiarize ANA pilots with the 787, the airline will conduct about 230 787 flights in the coming weeks.

ANA did not specify when it has scheduled the 787 to return to passenger service.

Bloomberg News contributed to this report.

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