Boeing sees 787 battery fixes done by mid-May

NEW YORK (AFP) - Boeing voiced confidence on Wednesday that all Boeing 787 Dreamliner aircraft, grounded worldwide for overheated lithium-ion batteries, will have a company fix installed by mid-May.

"We have pretty big confidence we can be done with this in a few weeks, by mid-May," Mr Jim McNerney, Boeing chairman, president and chief executive, said in a conference call after the company reported first-quarter earnings.

Airlines have begun installing the modifications to the pioneering lithium-ion battery system after the US Federal Aviation Administration approved the Boeing fix last Friday.

On Tuesday, the European Aviation Safety Agency announced its approval of the Boeing plan.

US safety officials investigating overheated lithium-ion batteries on two Boeing 787s had said they still are not certain what caused the incidents.

The problems first surfaced publicly when a fire erupted in the battery area of a Japan Air Lines 787 parked at a Boston airport on January 7.

Then on Jan 16 battery fumes forced an emergency landing of an All Nippon Airways 787 in Japan, prompting the grounding of all 50 of the aircraft in service worldwide.

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