FAA allows Boeing to resume deliveries of 787 Dreamliners | Business news

Boeing has cleared a key hurdle with federal regulators and could soon resume deliveries of its 787 juggernaut, which has been plagued by a series of production problems since late 2020, a person familiar with the matter said on Saturday.

The Federal Aviation Administration notified Boeing on Friday that it would approve the company’s process for verifying fixes for each plane before they are delivered to the airline’s customers, said the person, who spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss the decision, which was not announced publicly.

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

Allowing deliveries to resume would be a boost for Boeing, which collects a large portion of the purchase price of each plane upon delivery. Boeing has stockpiled about 120 undelivered 787s. The plane, which Boeing calls the Dreamliner, costs between $248 million and $338 million, depending on size, although airlines pay far less than the sticker price.

Problems with the 787 began in 2020, when small gaps were found between fuselage panels made of carbon composite material. This prompted inspections that revealed problems with the air-tight bulkhead at the front of the plane.

Boeing was also forced to replace titanium parts, including fasteners, after it was discovered that an Italian supplier had used alloys that did not meet FAA standards.

Boeing says none of the problems caused immediate safety concerns.

It’s unclear how long it will take Boeing to deliver all 120 of the backlog of planes, which were built at plants in Washington state and South Carolina. Each must be approved by the FAA.

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

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

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