US regulator asks Boeing for full battery history
Jan 30 2013 , Tokyo
National Transportation Safety Board spokesman Peter Knudson said the agency made the request after recently becoming aware of battery problems at ANA that occurred before a Jan. 7 battery fire in a 787 parked at Boston's Logan International Airport. Boeing has already collected some of the information, he said.
ANA said it had replaced batteries on its 787 aircraft some 10 times because they failed to charge properly or showed other problems, and informed Boeing about the swaps. Japan Airlines also said it had replaced 787 batteries. It described the number involve as a few but couldn't immediately give further details.
All 50 of the Boeing 787s in use around the world remain grounded after an ANA flight on Jan. 16 made an emergency landing in Japan when its main battery overheated.
Lithium-ion batteries are prone to overheating and require additional safeguards to prevent fires. However, ANA spokeswoman Megumi Tezuka said the airline was not required to report the battery replacements to Japan's Transport Ministry because they did not interfere with flights and did not raise safety concerns.
Having to replace batteries on aircraft is not uncommon and was not considered out of the ordinary, she said.
Laura Brown, a spokeswoman for the US Federal Aviation Administration, said in Washington that the agency was checking whether the previous battery incidents had been reported by Boeing.
With 17 of the jets, ANA was Boeing's launch customer for the technologically advanced airliner. The airline has had to cancel hundreds of flights, affecting tens of thousands of people, but has sought to minimize disruptions by switching to other aircraft as much as possible.