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Japan regulators clear troubled 787s for flight

Fire hazards have grounded Boeing’s 787s since January.

Associated press/Kyodo News

Fire hazards have grounded Boeing’s 787s since January.

TOKYO — Japanese authorities approved Boeing’s fixes to the batteries on its 787 Dreamliner jets Friday and declared the aircraft fit for use, clearing the path for its biggest operators to begin flying the planes again following a grounding that began in January.

US and European regulators have already approved Boeing’s plans to add safety features to the 787’s lithium-ion batteries that would minimize the chances that they would emit smoke or catch fire. Two units, including one on a 787 at Logan International Airport in Boston, overheated in January.

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The Japanese Ministry of Transport authorized All Nippon Airways and Japan Airlines — which together own about half of the 50 Dreamliners delivered — to resume flights of a plane. The ministry is asking the airlines to adopt voluntary safety measures, including adding monitors to the batteries to read voltage levels in real time, before the planes are brought back to service.

Norihiro Goto, head of the Japan Transport Safety Board, said earlier that investigators remained unsure what caused the batteries to overheat. But Japan was satisfied Boeing had now considered all potential problems, Goto said.

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