Boeing conducts test flight to probe battery fires

Boeing on Saturday carried out a test flight of its 787 Dreamliner as part of investigations into recent battery fires that grounded the aircraft.

The flight took off from Seattle, Washington at 12:32 pm local time (2032 GMT and landed at 2:51 pm (2251 GMT), Boeing said. The flight was approved earlier in the week by the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).

The flight "will allow Boeing to conduct testing of the in-flight performance of the airplane's batteries, which will provide data to support the continuing investigations into the cause of the recent 787 battery incidents," Boeing spokesman Marc Birtel said in a statement before the flight.

On Friday, Boeing said it had informed buyers of its troubled 787 Dreamliner that deliveries would be delayed as US air safety experts investigate the two burned battery incidents on the aircraft.

On January 16, the 50 Dreamliners in service around the world were grounded after a battery fire on a parked Japan Airlines (JAL) plane and battery smoke on an All Nippon Airways flight forced an emergency landing.

Two days later, Boeing suspended deliveries of the aircraft until further notice, but continued production.

The US National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), the FAA, and Japanese and French authorities are investigating the cause of the battery incidents.

The NTSB on Thursday suggested it could be weeks before it reaches a conclusion on what caused the battery fire aboard the JAL 787 at Boston's Logan International Airport on January 7.