Japan Airlines tests modified Dreamliner

Japan Airlines on Thursday conducted its first test flight of the Boeing 787 Dreamliner jet since the aircraft was grounded worldwide, with an eye on resuming commercial flights in June.

JAL said its plane took off from Haneda airport in Tokyo early Thursday and returned after a two-hour flight over northern Japan without any problems detected in the modified battery system.

The company plans to conduct another test flight from Narita airport in suburban Tokyo later in the day, a spokesman said.

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The successful test flight came after JAL's rival All Nippon Airways conducted its own test of the next-generation jet following US regulators' approval of the battery fix Boeing had proposed.

The US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and other regulators grounded Dreamliners worldwide in mid-January after failures of the lithium-ion batteries caused a fire on one parked plane in Boston and forced the emergency landing of an ANA-operated aircraft in Japan.

Following months of investigation, the FAA's formal approval last week was swiftly followed by Ethiopian Airlines on Saturday becoming the first carrier to put the aircraft back in the skies.

JAL and ANA together account for half of the Dreamliners in service globally and have cancelled thousands of flights in the wake of the battery troubles.

The Japanese airlines said Tuesday they would take a revenue hit of more than $200 million from the grounding of Dreamliners.

© 2013 AFP

Source: AFP
Date: May 2, 2013