The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) on Tuesday, February 15 said it would perform final inspections on new Boeing 787 Dreamliner aircraft, and will not allow the planemaker to self-certify the jets.
The U.S. aviation regulator said it notified Boeing of the decision that it will retain the authority to issue airworthiness certificates until it is confident “Boeing’s quality control and manufacturing processes consistently produce 787s that meet FAA design standards.”
Boeing said it “will continue to work transparently through (the FAA’s) detailed and rigorous processes… We will continue to engage with the FAA to ensure we meet their expectations and all applicable requirements.”
Boeing suspended deliveries of the 787 in late May after the FAA raised concerns about its proposed inspection method. The FAA had issued two airworthiness directives to address production issues for in-service airplanes and identified a new issue in July.
Deliveries have remained halted as U.S. regulators reviewed repairs and inspections. Deliveries are expected to remain frozen months longer.
The FAA said it wants Boeing to ensure it “has a robust plan for the re-work that it must perform on a large volume of new 787s in storage” and that “Boeing’s delivery processes are stable.”
House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee chair Peter DeFazio praised the FAA for “taking much-needed steps to ensure the safety of the flying public.” He noted the committee has been investigating the production and manufacture of the 787.
The 787 program remains at a low production rate, with an expected gradual return to five per month over time, Boeing said.
Boeing disclosed a USD 3.5 billion charge due to delivery delays and customer concessions, and another USD 1 billion in abnormal production costs, related to production flaws and related repairs and inspections on the advanced composite jet.
The FAA previously retained the right to issue certifications for the first four Boeing 787s when the company briefly resumed deliveries in early 2021. Boeing shares rose 3.7% on Tuesday, February 15.
Factory changes and other requirements to overcome tiny structural blemishes have raised longer-term questions over Boeing’s ability to build 787s at a sufficiently low cost and the rates once planned, a person familiar with the matter said.
(With Inputs from Reuters)