DALLAS – Reports have surfaced that the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has informed Boeing that it would approve the company’s procedures for validating fixes to each plane before they are delivered to airline customers.
While the decision has not yet been made public by Boeing or the FAA, Airways has received confirmation from a reputable source that yesterday (Friday) the FAA approved Boeing’s certification plan for inspections and any rework needed for undelivered 787s to meet the standard to return to delivery. This is one step in the regulatory process.
The next step will be for Boeing to submit documentation that an individual airplane meets the standard and request ticketing.
Boeing would benefit from approval to resume deliveries because it receives a sizable portion of the purchase price of each plane at delivery. About 120 Dreamliner orders from Boeing have not yet been delivered.
Depending on size, the Boeing 787 Dreamliner lists for US$248m to US$338M, although airlines typically spend much less than that.
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The aircraft has been beset by a number of production challenges since late 2020. Small gaps were discovered between carbon composite panels of the fuselage that year, which was when problems with the Boeing 787 first surfaced.
Inspections were initiated as a result, and they uncovered issues with a pressurization bulkhead at the front of the aircraft.
Following the discovery that an Italian Boeing supplier had utilized alloys that did not comply with FAA regulations, the company also had to replace titanium components, including fasteners.
The Dreamliner Backlog
The length of time it will take Boeing to deliver all 120 backlog 787s, which were produced in South Carolina and Washington state factories, is unknown.
American Airlines (AA) chief financial officer, Derek Kerr, stated last week on a conference call to discuss quarterly earnings that the carrier anticipates receiving its first two 787s “in early August” but won’t be adding them to the schedule until November.
If the reports are true, the American aerospace company will have overcome a significant regulatory hurdle to get its new 787s into the hands of its customers. The last deliveries of the Dreamliner took place in May 2021.
We’ve reached out to Boeing for comment. The company states that none of the issues it is addressing have an immediate safety impact on the in-service fleet.
According to the planemaker, the 787 is performing well and has been “the most utilized widebody through the pandemic because of its fuel efficiency; also many airlines used it to carry cargo when passenger traffic was low.”
Boeing CEO David Calhoun stated last month that he was confident the deliveries of the type would resume this summer.
This is a developing story.
Featured image: The Boeing 787 is Boeing’s newest long-haul aircraft. Photo: Brandon Farris/Airways