Measures unveiled to aid airlines with grounded 787s

Kyodo

The transport ministry on Tuesday unveiled steps to aid airlines forced to keep their Boeing 787 jets grounded.

The steps include exempting airlines from paying parking fees for 787s at Japanese airports, the ministry said.

The ministry also suspended an international rule under which an airline loses slots allocated to it if it fails to use at least 80 percent of the slots in the preceding year.

In addition, it eased a requirement that a pilot’s ability to operate a certain aircraft safely be confirmed by an onboard ministry inspector once a year. Under the step, flight simulator training and other alternative measures will be allowed to help pilots maintain flight skills for the 787.

The ministry said a Boeing Co. official will soon arrive to brief it on measures the manufacturer explained last week to the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration to prevent the recurrence of overheating by 787 batteries.

Meanwhile, Hirohiko Kawakatsu, a ministry official in charge of aircraft safety matters, was scheduled to leave for the United States on Wednesday to exchange views with FAA officials.

The world’s aviation authorities have ordered airlines to ground all 787s after a Dreamliner operated by All Nippon Airways made an emergency landing Jan. 16 at an airport in western Japan due to smoke in the cockpit.