On pause for more than a year because of production flaws and inspection concerns, Boeing 787 Dreamliner deliveries look set to resume after the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration on Friday approved a plan the aircraft manufacturer submitted this spring to inspect and repair those issues, according to Reuters.
As part of the plan, FAA will inspect each aircraft and verify that it meets requirements and is airworthy before it is released to customers, according to the report, which noted that deliveries could resume as early as this month.
FAA said that it did not comment on ongoing certifications. [Update, Aug 1] A Boeing spokesperson told BTN that “we will continue to work transparently with the FAA and our customers towards resuming 787 deliveries.”
Boeing’s recent issues with the aircraft began in August 2020 when the company grounded eight 787 planes already in service for inspection and repairs over manufacturing concerns. Boeing eventually halted deliveries for about five months, before resuming them in March 2021, only to stop them again in May 2021. FAA in July 2021 identified a new issue.
The aircraft also was grounded in 2013 for mechanical problems. At the time, United Airlines was the only U.S. carrier using the 787.
Since its most recent grounding, Boeing has continued to work with the FAA on the problems and on revising the inspection process for the aircraft. The delivery delay has caused capacity issues for some carriers that had counted on receiving the 787, including American Airlines and United.
Approval from FAA seems to have been close as both carriers in second-quarter 2022 earnings calls noted they expected deliveries of the 787 jetliner either in the third or fourth quarter.
On a July 20 earnings call, United EVP and CFO Gerald Laderman said that the company anticipated delivery of “no more than” five 787s to be delivered this year, while the following day, American CFO Derek Kerr said that the company expected to receive two 787s in “early August,” with another seven by year-end.
The following week, Boeing president and CEO David Calhoun noted in the company’s second-quarter earnings call that Boeing was “on the verge” of getting ready for 787 deliveries—“the moment we’ve been waiting for,” he said.