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Ethiopian Airlines Resumes 787 Service

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Ethiopian Airlines became the first to launch a revenue flight with the Boeing 787 since early January with a flight from Kampala to Nairobi, Kenya. "We would like to thank Ethiopian Airlines for the patience, support and leadership shown throughout the period that the 787 Dreamliner has been grounded," Boeing Commercial Airplanes President Ray Conner said in a news release. Japan's transport minister Friday gave the OK for that country's airlines to resume flights of their Boeing 787 Dreamliners, pending compliance with measures outlined by the FAA, plus additional measures. Along with modifications to the aircraft's battery systems, Japan is requiring that JAL and ANA also add specific battery monitoring systems for test flights. There are 50 Dreamliners in service worldwide and Japanese airlines JAL and ANA together operate 24 of the jets. A first test flight may come as soon as Sunday, but a full return to service may take weeks longer.

ANA operates a fleet of 17 Dreamliners, while JAL flies seven. Each aircraft flown by each airline must undergo installation of the modified battery system, the monitoring system, and  then undergo subsequent flight tests before they are returned to service. The new battery systems use new chargers along with new containment and venting measures that are specifically designed to avoid or contain lithium ion battery fires. Two 787s experienced lithium ion battery system fires in January of this year. Those events led to a worldwide grounding of the entire 787 fleet.

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