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Boeing to offer redesigned batteries to get 787s flying, N.Y. Times reports

AFP-JIJI

U.S. aerospace giant Boeing is set to propose repairs to the battery problems in its grounded 787 Dreamliner jets that could have them fly again within two months, The New York Times said Thursday.

The Times, citing industry and federal officials, said Boeing has narrowed down the ways in which the lithium-ion batteries could fail, concluding they would be safe to use after making changes such as adding insulation between the battery cells.

Boeing commercial airplane division chief Raymond Corner plans to unveil his plan in a meeting Friday with the head of the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration, Michael Huerta, according to the Times.

Although Huerta is unlikely to immediately approve the changes, the meeting will set the stage for a “high-level discussion” on the standards Boeing must meet to get its planes back in the air, the newspaper said.

Federal officials said the aircraft could be flying by April “if the fixes check out,” the story said.

A series of problems with the next-generation aircraft sparked multiple probes around the world and the grounding of the entire Dreamliner fleet last month.

The 50 jets in service were grounded Jan. 16 after a battery fire on a parked Japan Airlines plane and battery smoke on an All Nippon Airways flight forced an emergency landing.

Two days later, Boeing suspended deliveries of the aircraft until further notice but continued production.

The U.S. National Transportation Safety Board, the FAA, and Japanese and French authorities are investigating the incidents.

The long-haul, fuel-efficient 787, built using the latest composite materials, is key to Boeing’s business strategy as it battles to be top dog in the virtual duopoly it shares with Airbus.