TOKYO/SEATTLE, March 22 Japan's Civil Aviation
Bureau said on Friday that preparations are not yet complete for
any test flight of Boeing Co's grounded 787 Dreamliner
"It's Thursday (in the United States) and nothing has been
set," said Shigeru Takano, a senior safety official at the Civil
Aviation Bureau (CAB). "There are a number of steps it needs to
take before a test flight," he said at a news briefing.
Boeing Co plans to conduct two flight tests of its
revamped 787 battery system, as soon as the end of the week,
three sources familiar with the matter told Reuters on
Wednesday. The aircraft maker has predicted the Dreamliner could
return to operation within weeks.
Test flights would mark a step toward Boeing's goal of
returning the jet to service in weeks, after it was grounded
worldwide in January because batteries overheated on jets owned
by All Nippon Airways Co Ltd and Japan Airlines Co Ltd
Japan's aviation regulator last week criticized as
inappropriate remarks made by Boeing executives at a March 15
press briefing in Tokyo who said that the cause of the battery
fault may never be found. The CAB also said it was too early to
estimate that the 787 would return to operation within
The U.S. National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) said
Boeing did not inform investigators of what it planned to say
about the Dreamliner jets during last week's briefing in Tokyo.
Boeing's position was "inconsistent with our expectations"
from a company involved in an accident probe, NSTB general
counsel David Tochen wrote in a letter.
The letter points out that NTSB policy prohibits parties to
an investigation from releasing information about it or drawing
At the March 15 press conference in Tokyo, Boeing said that
the NTSB had ruled out the possibility that fire had erupted
inside the metal battery container in the JAL incident, and that
flames only occurred outside the box.
NTSB spokesman Peter Knudson later said it was too early in
the investigation to rule out fire inside the box.
"We have received the correspondence and remain fully
committed to support the NTSB and other regulatory authorities
in their investigations into the cause of the 787 battery
incidents, and also continue our around-the-clock efforts to
return the 787 fleet to service," said Boeing spokesman Marc