Poland's Boeing 787s to resume flight in June

A Boeing 787 Dreamliner takes off on a demonstration flight to test its new battery system.
Boeing

WARSAW, Poland Polish national airline LOT said Tuesday its Boeing 787 Dreamliner planes, which had been grounded for months due to battery problems, will resume flying in June.

The world's total fleet of 50 Boeing 787s has been grounded since Jan. 16 as Boeing and investigators tried to figure out why one aircraft battery caught fire and another smoldered, forcing an emergency landing.

Each 787 has two lithium ion batteries. To solve the problem, Boeing has decided to revamp the battery system.

Sebastian Mikosz, LOT's chief executive, told the PAP news agency that both of the carrier's 787s will resume commercial flights in early June, following repairs by the maker.

The two planes, currently in Chicago and Warsaw, will have their batteries fixed in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, where Boeing technicians are currently fixing the country's four 787s.

A third 787 that LOT is due to obtain in May will have a new kind of battery and will also enter service in June.

LOT will approach Boeing in mid-June over compensation for "hundreds of millions of zlotys (dollars)" of losses it suffered due to the grounding of the planes since January, Mikosz told the PAP agency. LOT spokesman Marek Klucinski confirmed the report.

While the root cause of the battery overheating remains unknown, the United States federal aviation officials have accepted Boeing's plan to fit all 787s with a revamped battery system and cleared the way for the plane to fly again, although the timing remains uncertain.

Mikosz said he was expecting the European aviation authorities to confirm that decision for LOT "within days."