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FAA clears Boeing 787 Dreamliners for deliveries 'in coming days'

Aug. 08, 2022
3 min read
American Airlines plane
FAA clears Boeing 787 Dreamliners for deliveries 'in coming days'
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After nearly two years, deliveries of Boeing 787 Dreamliners will soon resume.

The Federal Aviation Administration on Monday announced that Boeing had fulfilled all of the requirements to restart deliveries.

"Boeing has made the necessary changes to ensure that the 787 Dreamliner meets all certification standards," the agency said in a statement. "The FAA will inspect each aircraft before an airworthiness certificate is issued and cleared for delivery. We expect deliveries to resume in the coming days."

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Deliveries were halted in October 2020 when quality issues were discovered in new aircraft rolling off the production line. Tiny gaps were found where fuselage sections were joined together. While the defect wasn't concerning enough to cause a safety issue for in-service aircraft, the discovery led to nearly two years of back-and-forth between Boeing and the FAA over quality assurance and inspection requirements for the jet.

“We continue to work transparently with the FAA and our customers towards resuming 787 deliveries,” a Boeing spokesperson said in a statement following the FAA's announcement.

Each new aircraft will be individually inspected by FAA inspectors — a task that was previously delegated to Boeing's staff. The FAA's decision came after Acting FAA Administrator Billy Nolen traveled to Boeing's Dreamliner plant in North Charleston, South Carolina, last week to meet with those inspectors.

The 787 snafu had become a major issue for the planemaker — and a costly one. It began while the 737 MAX was still grounded after two fatal accidents and was the latest black eye for Boeing, which must compensate its airline customers for the delays.

More: The 787 Dreamliner: What are the differences between a -8, -9 and -10?

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"As we deliver the first few [7]87 airplanes, you may see some variability in cash payments as we compensate customers for delays," Boeing CFO Brian West said during the planemaker's second-quarter earnings call last month.

Few airlines have been more affected by the 787 delivery delays than American Airlines. The Fort Worth, Texas-based airline is awaiting more than 40 of the sleek, fuel-efficient jets, and the delivery delays caused them to cut back on their summer flying.

AA expects to receive its first 787 since the restart of deliveries as early as Wednesday, the airline said. The 787-8 will be American's first delivery since April of 2021.

"We appreciate the work done by the Federal Aviation Administration and Boeing during the review process," American said in a statement.

United Airlines also awaits some 787-10 aircraft, the model's largest variant, though its summer schedule was more affected by delays in returning its oldest Boeing 777-200 aircraft back to service after they were grounded in February 2021 because of an unrelated engine issue.

A third U.S. carrier, Hawaiian Airlines, will also soon join the ranks of Dreamliner operators when it receives the first of the five aircraft it has on order.

Featured image by NurPhoto via Getty Images
Editorial disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airline or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

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