Boeing has submitted insufficient documentation to the US aviation regulators to resume 787 Dreamliner deliveries, authorities say.
According to sources who spoke to Reuters, Boeing’s submission, which was made late April, has a number of oversights, and the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has had to send some back before taking further steps to reintroduce deliveries of the in-demand widebody jets.
It comes over a year after the popular aircraft’s deliveries were put on hold due to manufacturing issues found during a system-wide inspection of the planemaker’s shimming process last July.
The regulator found a defect near the nose – more information has not been detailed – on certain Dreamliners in the company’s undelivered inventory, which led to the pause in deliveries.
After much anticipation that the jet deliveries would resume last October, and earlier this year, in late April, the planemaker said it now would begin sending the aircraft to customers in late 2022.
Another source told Reuters that it was too early to say whether these FAA concerns would delay the deliveries even further.
The delays have created a major backlog of aircraft orders for Boeing and has affected multiple airlines that have been forced to cut capacity to mitigate the undelivered jets.
The most recent debacle came only months after the 787s resumed operations in March 2021 after being halted in September the year before when two manufacturing issues were found in the fuselage sections of eight Dreamliners.
A Boeing spokesperson told Reuters the company continues to have transparent conversations with the FAA on the documentation.
“Safety drives the pace of our reviews,” the spokesperson said without disclosing more details.
Boeing’s certification process is a detailed set of documents and data that proves the company’s steps for inspections and repairs set for the aircraft before the FAA makes a final decision.
At a Goldman Sachs conference this week, Boeing’s chief financial officer Brian West said the submission was an “important milestone” and proved the planemaker’s “conformance” with the FAA.
“I’ll remind you that we haven’t really seen anything new in a while,” West said.
“So, we’re working hard on making sure that that submission is thorough, and now the FAA has it, and we are standing by ready and willing to enter any discussion, answer any question and help them do their work as they move through their certain protocols.”
The FAA has stood by its belief that the issue is far deeper than a few manufacturing problems. In February, the regulator said it would not allow Boeing to self-certify its new 787 jets and said the company needed “a systemic fix to their production processes”, according to Reuters.
Only when the US aircraft manufacturer “consistently” produces aircraft that meet the regulator’s designs, will Boeing be able to authorise airworthiness directives.