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787 battery fix approved

Plastic planes still grounded as operators await repair manuals

Boeing's beleaguered 787 is a little closer to flying again after the USA's Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). approved the plane-makers new battery system plans.

The 787 was grounded earlier this year after battery packs on two craft overheated and produced lots of smoke.

Boeing revealed the details of the two incidents and explained what happened, without ever quite explaining just why the near-fires occurred. Engineers have since been working on a new design to stop the batteries from overheating in future.

Those plans were, late last week, approved by the FAA. The Administration will next issue instructions on how 787 operators should implement the new design. Those instructions will land this week, and the FAA will check to ensure operators follow them before allowing 787s to fly again.

All of which could mean 787s return to the skies in a matter of days.

The news is not all good at Boeing, however, as it last week announced layoffs of around 1700 staff, with many expected to depart from its passenger aircraft operations. ®

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