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Boeing resumes 787 Dreamliner deliveries after more than four months

written by Hannah Dowling | March 29, 2021

Front exterior shot of a United Airlines 787 Dreamliner

Boeing has officially resumed deliveries on its 787 Dreamliner widebodies following a slew of quality control inspections, making it the first time Boeing has completed a 787 delivery since October.

After more than four months of halted deliveries, the planemaker officially delivered one Dreamliner to US airline United Airlines on Friday.

A Boeing spokesperson later confirmed that the company had “resumed 787 deliveries following several months of engineering analysis and inspection works”.

It comes following an earlier decision by the US Federal Aviation Administration to independently handle final pre-delivery checks on four 787 jets, a task that it would normally delegate to authorised inspectors within Boeing.

The decision signals the FAA’s increased scrutiny in light of the 737 MAX fiasco that unleashed criticism of the government body’s oversight.

“The FAA is taking a number of corrective actions to address Boeing 787 production issues,” the agency said in a statement.

“One of the actions is retaining the authority to issue airworthiness certificates for four 787 aircraft. The FAA can retain the authority to issue airworthiness certificates for additional 787 aircraft if we see the need.”


In the last 12 months, Boeing has seen a growing list of manufacturing defects found in its 787 Dreamliners that have forced the planemaker to undergo extensive quality control inspections, at a cost of hundreds of millions of dollars.

Sources recently came out to say that while mechanics and engineers at Boeing are working around the clock, inspections and repairs are taking up to one month per plane, depending on the defects found, which is driving up costs and painfully slowing deliveries.

Most recently, Boeing reported a manufacturing flaw in the cockpit windows of a certain batch of 787s, after it was made aware that a supplier had altered its internal production process.

Testing on the relevant windows had already begun to ensure that the windows still meet all its requirements despite the change.

The last time Boeing delivered a 787 to a customer was in October last year, before it began to find flaws in the aircraft’s fuselage, including minor dimples at the joinery.

Boeing currently has a backlog of around 80 Dreamliners that have been built and are currently stored at its factories as inspections continue.

The news comes one month after the US Federal Aviation Administration issued an airworthiness directive demanding inspection of over 200 787 Dreamliners, after new defects were located.

The 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.

In December, Boeing announced it had found another flaw in the fuselage of its undelivered 787 Dreamliner jets.

The US planemaker said the same flaw reported in the jet’s fuselage in August 2020 had now been found in other areas of the aircraft.

Boeing has said the defect was found in some areas where fuselage segments were joined, with these joins potentially not being as smooth as required.

The engineering specifications at issue are roughly equivalent to the width of a human hair, the company noted.

Boeing also said the problem does not pose an imminent safety hazard.

Other faults found in the months since August 2020 pertained to the plane’s horizontal stabiliser, and its tail fin.


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