Boeing gets FAA green light for plan to resume 787 Dreamliner deliveries
On Friday, federal regulators cleared the way for Boeing to restart deliveries of its 787 Dreamliner, which were halted more than a year ago due to quality issues.
Boeing had submitted a plan this spring to the Federal Aviation Administration to inspect and repair those issues, which the agency approved on Friday in a major step on the way to delivering the planes, according to a person familiar with the decision, which does not was not authorized by the agency to share the news. The FAA will still inspect jets before they are released to Boeing customers.
The Dreamliner is a twin-aisle aircraft commonly used for long international flights and is an important part of Boeing’s fleet. It appeals to airlines in part because it’s more fuel-efficient than older wide-body jets.
The late delivery had taken its toll on both Boeing and its customers. In January, Boeing estimated the cost of repairs and compensating customers for the delay at around $3.5 billion. Earlier this year, American Airlines said the delivery freeze forced it to cut several international routes it had planned to fly this summer.
Quality issues included finding and filling very thin gaps in the aircraft body, replacing some titanium parts made with the wrong material, and other fixes. None have an immediate impact on the safety of Dreamliners flying today, Boeing said.
Boeing has already started inspecting and repairing its inventory of about 120 Dreamliners, but it was not immediately clear how soon the company would be able to start shipping the plane to customers again. An American executive said earlier this month that he expected to start receiving part of his order of Dreamliners as early as early August.
Boeing had already signaled earlier this week that it was about to resume deliveries. “We’re preparing planes with our customers and have done flight checks on initial planes,” Boeing chief financial officer Brian West said in a call with investor analysts and reporters.
An FAA spokeswoman declined to comment on the decision. In a brief statement, Boeing said it would “continue to work transparently” with the agency and its customers to restart deliveries.
Boeing said this week that it intends to resume producing five Dreamliners a month, down from the 14 it was assembling each month before the pandemic.