Japan's All Nippon Airways, or ANA, on Sunday made its first passenger flight with one of its Boeing 787 Dreamliner aircraft after replacing the defective batteries that has caused the jets to be grounded for three months due to safety concerns.
The flight took off from the airport in the northern city of Sapporo heading for Tokyo's Haneda airport at 5 p.m. on what was the first trip with passengers aboard the 787 since Japanese aviation authorities approved resuming operations with the aircraft on April 26.
The company is scheduled to use its 17 Dreamliners regularly and resume flights on all the routes that were cancelled last January.
The problem with the 787s cropped up in early January when the lithium-ion batteries in several planes overheated in flight, resulting in smoke being detected in the cabins by the flight crews and passengers.
About 50 of the new Boeing planes were grounded around the world, with ANA having the largest fleet.
U.S. and Japanese officials gave the green light to resuming 787 flights last month after improvements in the batteries by the U.S. aircraft manufacturer were approved.
Since the battery overheating problem was detected, Boeing has spent some 200,000 man-hours testing the defective batteries and another 100,000 man-hours performing other tests, a top Boeing official in Tokyo confirmed.
After approval was given for resumption of the aircraft's operations, Ethiopian Airlines became the first company in the world to resume commercial flights with its Dreamliner on April 27 when it traversed the route between Addis Ababa and Nairobi.
ANA cancelled at least 3,601 domestic and international flights between January and the end of May. EFE