787 probe far from complete, regulator "very concerned"

Thu Jan 24, 2013 7:57pm EST
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"It's going to take them longer," he said in an interview. "Weeks, not days."

Richard Aboulafia, aerospace analyst with the Virginia-based Teal Group, said the NTSB briefing was a sobering reminder that investigators have not made much headway on finding a cause for the battery problems.

"It was hard to find a lot of optimism on the call. It sounds like they're still in the middle of a lot of hard work and a lot of mysteries," Aboulafia said. "It just wasn't encouraging. Fire is the last thing you want on an airplane."


The 787 has been grounded worldwide since an All Nippon Airways plane made an emergency landing in Japan on January 16 after a battery incident, which Hersman said may or may not have been a fire.

That emergency landing came after a fire occurred on a Japan Airlines Co Ltd 787 on the tarmac in Boston.

In a statement late on Thursday, Boeing said it was cooperating with regulators and had teams of "hundreds of engineering and technical experts" working on the situation.

"Boeing is eager to see both investigative groups continue their work and determine the cause of these events, and we support their thorough resolution," the company said, adding it was not permitted to comment directly on the ongoing investigations.

Still, Boeing shares are actually up 1.3 percent since regulators said the plane - full of high-tech innovations that are supposed to be a model for future aviation - could not fly.   Continued...

National Transportation Safety Board Chairman Deborah A. P. Hersman (C), standing with Director of the Office of Aviation Safety John DeLisi (L) and Director Office of Research and Engineering Joseph Kolly (R), briefs reporters on the NTSB's ongoing investigative work being done on the malfunctioning JAL Boeing 787 lithium ion battery at their labs in Washington, January 24, 2013. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst