FAA gives Boeing permission to resume deliveries of 787 Dreamliners

FAA gives Boeing permission to resume deliveries of 787 Dreamliners

Boeing has cleared a key hurdle with federal authorities and may soon resume deliveries of its big 787 plane, which has been plagued by a series of production issues since late 2020, a person familiar with the matter said Saturday.

The Federal Aviation Administration told Boeing on Friday it would approve the company’s process to validate fixes on each plane before they are delivered to airline customers, the person who spoke on condition of anonymity said about a decision to discuss, which has not been made public.

The FAA declined to comment and referred inquiries to Boeing. In a statement, Boeing said only, “We will continue to transparently work with the FAA and our customers to resume 787 deliveries.”

Approval to resume deliveries would be a boost for Boeing, which collects a large chunk of each plane’s purchase price upon delivery. Boeing has amassed a backlog of about 120 undelivered 787s. The plane, which Boeing calls the Dreamliner, costs $248 million to $338 million, depending on size, though airlines are paying far less than the sticker price.

Problems with the 787 began in 2020 when small gaps were found between carbon composite fuselage panels. This led to inspections that revealed problems with a pressurization bulkhead at the front of the aircraft.

Boeing also had to replace titanium parts, including fasteners, after discovering the Italian supplier was using alloys that didn’t meet FAA standards.

Boeing has claimed that none of the issues raise immediate safety concerns.

It’s not clear how long Boeing will take to deliver all 120 backorder planes built at factories in Washington state and South Carolina. Each must be cleared by the FAA.

American Airlines expects to receive its first two 787s “in early August” but won’t schedule them until November, the airline’s chief financial officer, Derek Kerr, said in a call last week to discuss quarterly earnings.

The FAA’s decision to approve Boeing’s retrofit plan was first reported by Aviation Week.