Flyers' Group Seeks Limit On 787 Flights

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Flyers' Rights, an advocacy group for airline passengers, said on Tuesday the FAA should restrict 787 flights to within two hours of an airport "until the safety of its lithium-ion batteries is proven." The restriction wouldn't affect flights over the continental U.S. or most flights to Europe, but trans-Pacific and transpolar routes would be off limits. "Our proposed actions are both urgent and necessary," said Paul Hudson, president of the organization. "Adequate testing of the batteries haven't been done and the fire investigation is not finished." United Airlines, the only U.S. carrier flying 787s, plans to resume domestic flights with the airplane next Monday, and will start flying the Denver-Tokyo route on June 10.

With an FAA-approved fix for the battery problem in place, Boeing said last week it has increased its production rate for the 787 from five to seven airplanes per month. The company plans to be building 10 per month by the end of the year. Meanwhile, the NTSB is continuing its tests and research to try to determine a cause for the battery problems. In a letter to Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood, Flyers' Rights also asked him to create an ad hoc advisory committee of independent battery experts and open a public docket for comments on the battery fix.