UK airlines hit by the grounding of Boeing's Dreamliner plane could soon be taking delivery of the first of their new aircraft.
Holiday airline Thomson had hoped to operate the ultra-green Boeing 787 Dreamliner from May, while next month would also have seen British Airways take delivery of the first of 24 Dreamliners.
But earlier this year battery smoke emanating from two Dreamliner flights operated by Japanese carriers led to a grounding of the world's 787 fleet and a halt to deliveries.
Now, American aviation authority the FAA has approved the battery improvement work done by Boeing and the Seattle-based company is modifying its 787s in preparation for a return to service and a recommencement of deliveries.
At a briefing in London, Boeing's 787 programme vice president and general manager Larry Loftis said: "It is possible we may never know the root cause (of the battery failure)."
But he added that Boeing was confident the improvement work would ensure the absolute safety of the aircraft.
Loftis said he could not give an exact date when UK carriers or other world airlines would get their delayed planes.
However, he added that Boeing was having "detailed conversations" with airlines and that planes could be delivered "within weeks".
Thomson had already announced the scrapping of its plans to operate the Dreamliner in May and June this year.
Flying from Glasgow, Manchester, Gatwick and East Midlands Airports, the first Thomson Dreamliners were due to operate to Cancun in Mexico and Orlando in Florida, with the first flight on May 1.
Thomson, which is due to receive eight Dreamliners, is the UK launch customer for the plane and had been busy promoting trips on the 787 which can seat between 210 and 290 passengers on medium-range routes.
British Airways' Dreamliners will replace the carrier's Boeing 767s, with the first four due to arrive this year, while Virgin Atlantic is scheduled to get the first of its 16 Dreamliners in September 2014.
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