Japan plans extra measures for Dreamliner

Japan plans to impose additional safety requirements on its airlines when they are allowed to resume flying the Boeing 787 Dreamliner, a report said on Friday.

The US Federal Aviation Administration is expected to lift a worldwide flight ban within weeks and the Nikkei business daily said Japan's transport ministry is likely to fall into line after the FAA's official announcement.

All of the 50 Boeing 787 planes in service around the world were grounded in mid-January after a series of overheating problems with the lithium-ion battery system on the aircraft.

The transport ministry is to require Dreamliner operators to introduce new safety measures, including remote monitoring of battery data such as voltage.

It will also call for more frequent battery inspections, from the present rate of about once every two years.

Airlines will have to ensure that the battery system has been properly modified and carry out test flights before returning 787s to commercial service.

With the cause of the problem still uncertain, safety concerns linger, the Nikkei said, adding that the ministry was seeking to address fears by imposing the additional safety measures.

Immediate confirmation of the report was not available.

The grounding of Dreamliners came after a battery fire on a parked JAL 787 at Boston's Logan International Airport and an incident in which fumes from a battery forced the emergency landing of an ANA-operated plane in Japan.

Transport minister Akihiro Ota said aviation authorities were "at the final stage" before allowing airlines to resume 787 flights, but declined to give any more details.

"We aim to resume the flights safely and quickly," Ota told reporters, according to Japanese public broadcaster NHK.

An ANA spokesman said: "We are not in a position to comment on when we can resume flights. We are considering various measures for safety flights but nothing has been officially decided."

The Japanese carrier has said that it was cancelling 1,714 flights in April and May, a period that includes Japan's busy Golden Week holidays, taking the total of cancelled flights since January to more than 3,600.

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