Dreamliner cleared for ocean flying

United Airlines (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)

WASHINGTON (AP) – The Federal Aviation Administration has cleared Boeing Co.’s 787 to fly 5 1/2 hours over the ocean, far from the nearest emergency landing site.

The moves comes while another branch of the government – the National Transportation Safety Board – is still investigating the cause of a January 2013 battery fire aboard a 787 that led to a worldwide grounding of the plane, also known as the Dreamliner.

The 787 first carried passengers in October 2011. Regulators had previously allowed it to be flown only 3 hours away from an airport while traversing oceans. The expansion announced Wednesday lets airlines fly the Dreamliner over extremely long stretches of open ocean, primarily the South Pacific.

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