Boeing gets OK to test new 787 battery
Also on Tuesday, sources told Reuters the planemaker was close to signing a $15 billion deal to sell about 170 single-aisle 737 planes to budget Irish carrier Ryanair.
Boeing's shares closed up 1.5 percent, hitting an almost five-year high, and extended gains in after-hours trade.
Late on Tuesday, the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration said it approved Boeing's battery certification plan and will permit two aircraft limited flights to test the new design.
Regulators grounded the 50 Dreamliners in use by airlines on January 16 after lithium-ion batteries burned aboard two planes, banning airlines from flying the 787 and stopping Boeing from delivering them. Although its factories continue to make the 787, Boeing is losing an estimated $50 million a week while the planes are grounded.
"We won't allow the plane to return to service unless we're satisfied that the new design ensures the safety of the aircraft and its passengers," U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood said in a statement.
Boeing's new battery - which it presented to the FAA in late February - is designed to minimize the chances of a short circuit, insulates the cells within the battery better and adds a new containment and venting system to prevent damage even if the battery catches fire.
The FAA said the new design must pass a series of tests before it is approved
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