Boeing: 787 battery replacements not due to safety concerns

Boeing responded Wednesday morning to reports that 787 operators replaced numerous batteries prior to the jet’s grounding by aviation authorities over battery concerns.

Boeing’s updated statement:

Batteries are a replaceable unit on airplanes, regardless of the technology used. Every day there are on the order of five or six batteries on Boeing airplanes that are removed and replaced – about 2,000 per year. We have an ongoing process to look for opportunities to extend the service life of replaceable units like batteries across our fleet.

We have not seen 787 battery replacements occurring as a result of safety concerns. The batteries are being returned because our robust protection scheme ensures that no battery that has been deeply discharged or improperly disconnected can be used. The third highest category for battery returns is exceeding the battery shelf life – this is a fact of life in dealing with batteries; they sometimes expire and must be returned.

Read the New York Times report about 787 battery replacements by All Nippon Airways here.

On Tuesday, Elon Musk, SpaceX founder and owner of Tesla electric cars, called the 787’s lithium-ion battery is “inherently unsafe” in this Flightglobal report.

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