FAA's Huerta says agency reviewing long-range approval for 787

WASHINGTON Tue Apr 16, 2013 5:07pm EDT

The Boeing 787 lands in Everett, Washington travelling with crew only from Fort Worth, Texas February 7, 2013. REUTERS/Kevin P. Casey

The Boeing 787 lands in Everett, Washington travelling with crew only from Fort Worth, Texas February 7, 2013.

Credit: Reuters/Kevin P. Casey

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WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The head of the Federal Aviation Administration on Tuesday said his agency was examining whether to allow Boeing Co's (BA.N) 787 Dreamliner to resume long-distance, trans-ocean flights as part of its review of a revamped battery system.

Michael Huerta told a Senate committee hearing that the FAA would announce its decision on extended range flight, known as ETOPS, when it decides on returning the jet to service with the redesigned battery system. Boeing redesigned the system after two batteries burned on two jets in January.

Speaking to reporters after the hearing, Huerta said the FAA is not currently considering granting the 787 approval to fly extended missions beyond 180 minutes. The jet had that level when it was grounded in January, and Boeing had been seeking approval for 330 minutes, allowing the plane to make the long-range missions over remote areas that it was designed to fly.

Huerta also said he expects a decision soon on whether to approve Boeing's battery system.

(Reporting By Andrea Shalal-Esa; Writing by Alwyn Scott; Editing by Gary Hill)

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