Boeing 787s are gradually returning to the skies after regulatory agencies in the U.S., Europe and Japan have approved flights. Ethiopian Airlines was the first to fly with a flight from Addis Ababa to Nairobi on Saturday. Ethiopian Airlines CEO Tewolde Gebremariam and Randy Tinseth, Boeing Vice President of Marketing, were on board the flight.
Ethiopian grounded its four Dreamliners on Jan. 17, following the directive issued by the FAA and the Ethiopian Civil Aviation Authority due incidents related to battery issues on Japanese carriers.
Last week, the FAA certified solutions proposed by Boeing to the battery issues allowing Ethiopian and other operators to retrofit the new and additional systems and resume flights with the Dreamliners. Boeing and Ethiopian engineers are implementing these solution. Following the successful completion of the retrofitting work on the airplane and smooth test flight by Ethiopian pilots, the Ethiopian Civil Aviation Authority approved the commercial flight resumption of Ethiopian Dreamliner. These solutions will be done on all four of Ethiopian Dreamliners one after the other.
“We are excited to resume our service with the Dreamliners,” said Gebremariam. “The Dreamliner is the most advanced commercial aircraft, which has enabled passengers travelling with Ethiopian to enjoy the ultimate on-board comfort. During the five months our four Dreamliners were in service, we were very pleased with their performance, and the feedback from our passengers has been overwhelmingly positive.”
Also, All Nippon Airways performed a successful test flight of one if its 787s over the weekend and Japan Airlines’ president issued a statement that JAL would be making modifications and plans to be flying its seven 787s by June.
“As the approved modification instruction for the battery system contains measures to eliminate the potential for problems attributable to all probable causes identified in the investigations, we have also determined that implementation of these measures would ensure safety of the aircraft and persons on board,” said Yoshiharu Ueki. “In addition to modifying the battery system, we will take steps to prevent potential malfunctions such as fuel leaks, and check and inspect all aircraft systems. We will carry out maintenance and a thorough examination of our 787 aircraft in order to further enhance its reliability and resume operations. Our flight crew members will perform familiarity flights and other training so as to be fully prepared to operate the upgraded 787. “