Japan poised to lift 787 grounding

Singapore
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Japan's ministry of land, infrastructure and transport says it could lift the grounding of the Japanese Boeing 787 fleet, as early as local evening time on Friday, 26 April 2013.

The ministry is awaiting the US Federal Aviation Administration to issue an airworthiness directive to allow the 787 to resume flights after airlines install redesigned lithium-ion batteries and new venting ducts in the electrical equipment bay, a ministry official told Flightglobal Pro.

"The minister has announced that after the FAA's directive comes, the Japan Civil Aviation Bureau will issue our directive, If they issue it at US time this morning, we will likely issue it at night, our time," he adds.

The US FAA is scheduled to issue an airworthiness directive on 26 April to lift the grounding of the type.

Boeing started modification works on All Nippon Airways (ANA) and Japan Airlines' (JAL) 787s on 22 April. Boeing has dispatched seven maintenance teams across Japan to work on the two carriers' 787 fleets.

"We're expecting the modification to be complete on the first aircraft either today or tomorrow," says an ANA spokesman.

Both carriers say they will announce when their 787s will return to service after the Japanese ministry directive comes.

The FAA ordered the grounding of the 787 on 16 January, after a second lithium-ion battery on board the aircraft type overheated in less than a 10-day period.

ANA and JAL are the world's largest operators of the 787.

Flightglobal Pro data shows that ANA has received 17 787-8s, with an additional 19 -8s and 30 787-9s on order. JAL, meanwhile, has seven -8s in its fleet, with an additional 18 -8s and 20 787-9s on order.