Washington: US safety regulators are nowhere near finishing an investigation into a battery fire on the Boeing Co 787 Dreamliner, a top official said on Thursday, raising the prospect of a prolonged grounding for the aircraft.
Deborah Hersman, chairman of the National Transportation Safety Board, made clear that investigators have found a series of "symptoms" in the battery damaged in a January 7 fire in Boston, but not the underlying cause of the problem. She also said the agency would be looking at the design of the battery compartment area of the plane and whether the certification standards had been strong enough.
The comments were seen by some safety experts within the aerospace industry as a clear signal that this is no longer just a teething issue for the new plane.
That will raise questions about the financial impact for Boeing, which is still running its assembly lines and backing up aircraft to be delivered, and for airlines, many of which counted on getting the futuristic 787 for their expansion plans.
"We are early in our investigation, we have a lot of activities to undertake," Hersman told a news conference.
25/01/13 Reuters/Business Standard