TOKYO (AP) — Japan's transport minister said Friday the government will allow Japanese airlines to resume flying grounded Boeing 787s once they complete installation of systems to reduce fire risk in problematic lithium ion batteries.
The ministry gave the official approval Friday evening following a formal safety order from U.S. Federal Aviation Administration.
"We have reached a conclusion that there is no problem with the judgment by the FAA," Transport Minister Akihiro Ohta told reporters. "We believe all possible safety measures would be taken to prevent recurrence of similar problems."
The 50 Dreamliner jets in service worldwide were grounded in mid-January after incidents with smoldering batteries occurred aboard two different planes. Japan's All Nippon Airways was the launch customer for the technologically advanced airliner and has 17 of the jets. Japan Airlines has seven.
The groundings have led to hundreds of canceled flights and big revenue losses.
A resumption of Dreamliner commercial flights would be around June, as safety improvements are expected to take several weeks to finish, airline officials said.
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