LONDON – The Federal Aviation Administration revealed today (August 8) that Boeing will restart deliveries of its 787 Dreamliners in the coming days.
Deliveries of the wide-body jetliners have been suspended for much of the past two years as regulators and Boeing reviewed a series of manufacturing flaws.
The resumption of deliveries is long-awaited for Boeing and customers like American Airlines, United Airlines and Lufthansa which have gone without new Dreamliners just as travel demand surged this year. The twin-aisle planes are often used for long-haul international routes.
American Airlines could receive a new Dreamliner as early as Wednesday, a person familiar with the matter told CNBC.
The Dreamliners are a key source of cash for Boeing as the bulk of an aircraft’s price is paid when it’s handed over to customers, though the manufacturer had to compensate buyers for the extensive delays. The company earlier this year said 787 issues, including a drop in production, would cost it $5.5 billion.
“Boeing has made the necessary changes to ensure that the 787 Dreamliner meets all certification standards,” “The FAA will inspect each aircraft before an airworthiness certificate is issued and cleared for delivery.” the FAA said in a statement Monday.
American manufacturer shares jumped more than 1% shortly after the FAA’s announcement.
Company last month said it was near the finish line of resuming 787 deliveries, which CEO Dave Calhoun called “the moment we’ve been waiting for.” The company had 120 of the planes in inventory as of the end of last quarter, according to a securities filing.
The FAA is investigating manufacturing defects on the B787 from 2020
“The inspection will continue until there is assurance that Boeing’s manufacturing and quality control processes meet federal design standards,” the Federal Aviation Administration communicated in February. Boeing has been struggling with B787 production problems for more than two years. In September 2020.
The FAA said it was “investigating manufacturing defects” in several aircraft already produced. Following two fatal crashes involving the B737 MAX in 2018 (Indonesia) and 2019 (Ethiopia), the FAA pledged to inspect Boeing more closely and delegate fewer of the certification rights the manufacturer had previously received.
Boeing suspended deliveries of the 787 after the FAA raised concerns about the proposed inspection method. The FAA had previously issued two airworthiness directives to address production issues for aircraft in service and identified a new problem in July 2021. Boeing resumed deliveries of Dreamliners in March 2021 after a five-month hiatus before halting them again.
The agency’s administrator at the time, Steve Dickson, told Reuters in February that the FAA needed a “systemic fix in its manufacturing processes” from Boeing.
120 B787s await acceptance
During Boeing’s second-quarter 2022 financial results presentation last week, Brian West, Boeing’s chief financial officer, said the manufacturer has 120 Dreamliners in stock and is performing the necessary tasks to prepare the machines for deliveries that will occur soon.
Regarding the new planes, West said that Boeing, until it receives the green light from the FAA and resumes deliveries to clear the aprons where the built aircraft are parked, is keeping production levels of the new B787s very low. Later, the factories will gradually reach a production level of five aircraft per month.
The first Dreamliner, to be delivered from May 2021, was to be destined for American Airlines. AA, which originally expected to have 13 additional B787s by this time of year, has had to revise its long-haul schedule due to the lack of receipt of the new wide-body aircraft.
American Airlines said last week that it expected to receive nine B787 aircraft this year, including two in early August.
Boeing in January disclosed a $3.5 billion charge it faced due to delays in B787 deliveries and customer concessions, as well as another $1 billion in abnormal production costs due to manufacturing defects and related repairs and maintenance. Since entering service in 2011, 1006 Boeing 787s have been delivered, and to date the manufacturer has received orders for 1,482 of these aircraft.