Boeing update: Over 200 Dreamliners grounded over defects, UAE lifts MAX ban

written by Hannah Dowling | February 18, 2021
787-8 Dreamliner. Image – Boeing (1)

The US Federal Aviation Administration has issued an airworthiness directive demanding inspection of over 200 Boeing 787 Dreamliners, after new defects were located.

Wednesday’s directive was issued following reports of torn decompression panels in the bilge area, according to the regulator.

The issue essentially pertains to the panels that separate the bottom of the passenger cabin from the cargo hold underneath.

The FAA estimated the directive will affect 222 Dreamliner aircraft in the US.

The latest issue joins a long list of defects found in 787 Dreamliners, which has forced Boeing to conduct additional quality inspections and hampered its ability to deliver the jets.

Other defects found in the jet over the last 12 months include quality issues in the fuselage joinery, a fault in the aircraft’s horizontal stabiliser, and an issue present on its vertical tail fin.

Additionally, in August, eight Dreamliners were grounded after the planemaker found “two distinct manufacturing issues” affecting the fuselage of the aircraft.

Boeing is now sitting on a stockpile of more than 80 undelivered 787s.

UAE lifts MAX ban

Meanwhile, the United Arab Emirates civil aviation authority has joined its international counterparts in lifting its grounding order on the 737 MAX, three months after the US.

The aircraft was grounded by regulators around the globe in March 2019 following the second of two fatal crashes within five months of one another, which killed 346 people.

The US FAA lifted its ban on the MAX jet in November 2020, while regulators in the UK and EU followed suit last month.

“Lifting the ban on the plane is a result of intensive efforts by the authority’s technical committee, which evaluated all the technical requirements from the US Federal Aviation Administration, Boeing and the European Aviation Safety Agency,” said Saif al-Suwaidi, director general of the UAE’s General Civil Aviation Authority.

More changes in management

Two veteran Boeing board members are rumoured to announce their retirement this week, and will follow a number of high-profile board-level changes following the MAX crisis.

The Wall Street Journal first reported that Arthur Collins and Susan Schwab may both be announcing their retirement this week.

Collins, a former chairman and chief executive at Medtronic, has been a director on the board since 2007.

Schwab is a former US trade representative and has been a Boeing director since 2010.

Following increasing scrutiny after the two fatal MAX crashes, Boeing first separated the roles of chairman and chief executive, before ousting previous CEO Dennis Muilenburg.

In March 2020, Nikki Haley, a former US ambassador for the United Nations, resigned from the board after Boeing requested government aid to navigate the pandemic.

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