By Andrea Shalal-Esa
WASHINGTON Feb 1 U.S. investigators on Friday
said they are moving ahead in their investigation of a battery
fire on a Boeing Co 787 Dreamliner in Boston this month,
as the grounding of Boeing's entire fleet stretched into a third
All 50 Boeing 787s remain grounded as authorities in the
United States, Japan and France investigate the Boston battery
fire on Jan. 7 and a separate battery failure that forced a
second 787 to make an emergency landing in Japan a week later.
The U.S. safety board said it continued to look at flight
data recorded aboard the 787 aircraft involved in the Jan. 7
event at Boston airport for any information about the
performance of the lithium-ion battery that caught fire, and its
charging system, which was built by Securaplane, a unit of
Britain's Meggitt Plc.
"Our investigators are moving swiftly and we are making
progress," Kelly Nantel, a spokeswoman for the U.S. National
Transportation Safety Board, said after the U.S. safety board
issued a seventh update on the investigation.
The NTSB said an expert from the Department of Energy had
joined the investigation, and an NTSB investigator would travel
to France on Sunday or Monday with a "battery contactor" from
the airplane for further test at the equipment's manufacturer,
The NTSB experts at the U.S. Naval Surface Warfare Center
laboratories were continuing to look at a second, undamaged
lithium-ion battery pulled from the same Japan Airlines
plane. Both batteries were built by GS Yuasa, a
Initial tests, including infrared thermal imaging of each
cell in the undamaged battery, found no anomalies, according to
the NTSB update. It said the battery's eight cells were
undergoing another scan to examine their internal condition.
U.S., Japanese and French safety inspectors - aided by
industry officials - have been trying to determine what caused
the battery fire on the 787 in Boston and a separate battery
failure in Japan that involved smoke the following week.
The failure of investigators to identify the root cause of
the incidents has sparked concerns that the 787 grounding will
last longer, and hit Boeing and the airlines that operate the
787 harder than expected.
But Boeing's chief executive, Jim McNerney, told investors
this week that the company planned to speed up production of the
jet as planned, and had not seen any reason to question its use
of lithium ion batteries on the 787.
Boeing's shares closed 1.35 percent higher at $74.87 on the
New York Stock Exchange on Tuesday.
Neither the NTSB, nor the U.S. Federal Aviation
Administration, which is looking at a broader range of problems
with the 787, have set timetables for completing their work.
Investigations are also continuing in Seattle, where Boeing
builds the planes, and in Japan.