Boeing says battery returns on 787 not due to safety concerns

NEW YORK Wed Jan 30, 2013 11:08pm IST

National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) investigator Joseph Panagiotou documents internal components from the battery involved in the JAL Boeing 787 fire incident in Boston, in the NTSB labs in Washington, in this handout picture provided by the NTSB on January 29, 2013. REUTERS/NTSB/Handout

National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) investigator Joseph Panagiotou documents internal components from the battery involved in the JAL Boeing 787 fire incident in Boston, in the NTSB labs in Washington, in this handout picture provided by the NTSB on January 29, 2013.

Credit: Reuters/NTSB/Handout

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NEW YORK (Reuters) - Boeing Co(BA.N) said Wednesday that numerous replacements of potentially flammable lithium-ion batteries by airlines flying the new 787 Dreamliner were not made because of safety concerns.

"We have not seen 787 battery replacements occurring as a result of safety concerns," the company said in a statement.

"Batteries are a replaceable unit on airplanes, regardless of the technology used."

The statement comes after All Nippon Airways Co Ltd and Japan Airlines Co Ltd, Japan's two biggest airlines, said they had repeatedly replaced sub-par lithium-ion batteries on their Dreamliners in the months before the two incidents that led to the 787 groundings.

Boeing said: "The batteries are being returned because our robust protection scheme ensures that no battery that has been deeply discharged or improperly disconnected can be used. The third-highest category for battery returns is exceeding the battery shelf life - this is a fact of life in dealing with batteries; they sometimes expire and must be returned."

(Reporting by Alwyn Scott; Editing by Gerald E. McCormick)

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