The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) on Friday approved Boeing’s inspection and modification plan to restart deliveries of 787 Dreamliners, two people briefed on the matter told Reuters.
Federal Aviation Administration
The FAA approved Boeing’s proposal that demands specific inspections to verify the condition of the airplane meets requirements and that all work has been completed, a move that should permit Boeing to restart deliveries in August after it halted them in May 2021, sources informed.
On July 17, Boeing informed reporters it was “very close” to resuming 787 deliveries.
The FAA referred questions about the approval to Boeing. “We don’t comment on ongoing certifications,” the agency told.
Boeing did not confirm the approval Friday but stated it “will continue to operate transparently with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA ) and our customers towards restarting 787 deliveries.”
Boeing has faced production problems with the 787 for more than 2 years. In September 2020, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) stated it was “investigating manufacturing flaws” in some 787 jetliners.
In the aftermath of 2 fatal 737 MAX crashes in 2018 and 2019, the FAA pledged to more closely scrutinize Boeing and delegate fewer responsibilities to Boeing for aircraft certification.
Boeing suspended deliveries of the 787 after
Boeing suspended deliveries of the 787 after the FAA raised concerns about its proposed inspection method. The FAA had previously given 2 airworthiness directives to address production issues for in-service airplanes and identified a new problem in July 2021.
Boeing Chief Financial Officer Brian West stated this week on an investor call that it had 120 of the 787s in inventory and was “making progress completing the required rework to prepare them for delivery.” Boeing is “producing at very low rates and we’ll continue to do so until deliveries resume, gradually returning to five airplanes per month over time.”
The planemaker had only resumed deliveries in March 2021 after a five-month hiatus before halting them again. Friday’s approval came after lengthy discussions with the FAA.
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The regulator had told it wanted Boeing to ensure it “has a robust plan for the re-work that it must perform on a large volume of new 787s in storage” and that “Boeing’s delivery processes are stable.”
The FAA told in February it would retain the authority to give airworthiness certificates until it is confident “Boeing’s quality control and manufacturing processes consistently produce 787s that meet FAA design standards.”
The agency’s then-administrator, Steve Dickson, said to Reuters in February the FAA required from Boeing “a systemic fix to their production processes.”
A plane built for American Airlines is possible to be the first 787 airplanes delivered by Boeing since May 2021, sources told. That could arrive as soon as next month. American Airlines said last week on an earnings call it expects to receive nine 787s this year, including 2 in early August.
Boeing in January disclosed a $3.5 billion charge due to 787 delivery delays and customer concessions, and another $1 billion in abnormal production prices stemming from production flaws and related repairs and inspections.
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