Boeing executive says 787 can be quickly fixed

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Boeing Co. Commercial Airplanes CEO Ray Conner said Monday the company's solution for the 787 jet's battery problem can be swiftly implemented and the Dreamliners can be flying again soon if the Federal Aviation Administration gives Boeing approval to go ahead.

"So much depends on where the FAA goes," Conner said. "Hopefully, they will agree with the certification plan and then we'll go into testing."

Boeing is preparing kits with the parts needed to retrofit the in-service fleet of 50 airplanes that have been grounded around the world for more than six weeks.

After those 50 jets are retrofitted, he said, Boeing will quickly apply the fix to the undelivered airplanes now grounded in Washington state, and "we'll be off and into the delivery cycle."

Conner conceded that this optimistic outlook hangs upon the FAA’s call as to whether the fix is comprehensive enough.

Boeing is maintaining its production schedule for now, he said, and by mid-year will increase the 787 assembly rate from 5 per month now to 7 per month.