Boeing: We Don't Know When 787 Test Flights Will Resume

CHICAGO (AP) — Boeing Co. said it's still not clear when it will resume test flights for its new 787. The planes have been grounded since an electrical fire forced an emergency landing Nov. 9.

Boeing said on Tuesday that it must finish investigating the fire and decide if any design changes are necessary before test flights resume.

The schedule is being closely watched because the first plane is more than two years behind schedule. The test flights are necessary for the plane to be certified by the Federal Aviation Administration. Before the fire, Boeing said it was aiming to deliver the planes in February. On Tuesday it said it can't comment on how the fire investigation will impact the 787 schedule.

Boeing has traced the fire to a power panel on the test plane. It said the panel must be replaced, along with nearby insulation. Boeing said it is also repairing what it called "minor structural damage" from the fire. It said the repair would be made using standard repair procedures, but it doesn't know how long the repairs will take.

The fire lasted less than 30 seconds, and the plane would have had time to land at an airport safely from any point in a typical passenger flight, the company said.

The plane with the electrical fire landed in Laredo, Texas. Boeing also said it was returning two other test planes to Seattle from Rapid City, South Dakota, and Victorville, California. The electronics bays on those planes have been inspected, and no testing will be performed during the flights, the company said.

Boeing shares fell $1.51, or 2.4 percent, to $62.10 in midday trading. The falloff came on a day when the Dow Jones Industrial Average, of which Boeing is a component, was down 1.8 percent.