The test flights will consist of about 100 to 200 round trips

Boeing is looking to get its 787s back in the air as soon as possible, and is taking a giant step toward that goal today by installing new lithium ion batteries on five jets. 

Boeing started installing reinforced lithium ion batteries on five 787 Dreamliner jets today. The five jets are owned by All Nippon Airways (ANA) in Japan. 

Next week, Boeing plans to start a series of test flights -- which will consist of about 100 to 200 round trips. If all goes well, it hopes to have passengers back on the 787s in June. 

ANA has 17 of the 787 jets while Japan Airlines has seven and United Continental Holdings Inc's United Airlines and Air India AIN.UL both have six. 

Boeing's 787 Dreamliner suffered many issues back in Janury of this year. It started with a 787operated by Japan Airlines, which had experienced an electrical fire at Boston's Logan International Airport after coming in from Tokyo. According to the National Transportation Safety Board, a battery in the auxiliary power unit suffered severe fire damage.

One day later, a Boeing 787 operated by the same airline at the same airport suffered a fuel leak.

a 787 Dreamliner with All Nippon Airways (ANA), which had arrived at the Matsuyama airport in western Japan from Tokyo on Friday, developed a web-like crack in the cockpit window. That same day, another 787 Dreamliner with ANA had an oil leak after traveling to the Miyazaki airport in southern Japan. 

Finally, an ANA 787 flight to Tokyo had an issue with its main battery only 15 minutes into a 90-minute flight. After 40 minutes, a burning smell made its way into the cabin and cockpit, and the plane made an emergency landing at Takamatsu Airport on the southern island of Shikoku. This issue caused all 787s to be grounded in Japan, the U.S. and India until a safety investigation was conducted and the problems were corrected.

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) recently approved of the idea to encase 787 lithium ion batteries in a steel box, add a duct to vent gases outside the aircraft and install new battery chargers.

Source: Reuters

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