On July 17, Boeing told reporters it was “very close” to resuming 787 deliveries.
The FAA referred questions about the approval to Boeing. “We do not comment on ongoing certifications,” the agency said.
Boeing did not confirm the approval Friday, but said it “will continue to work transparently with the FAA and our customers toward the resumption of 787 deliveries.”
Boeing has faced production problems with the 787 for more than two years. In September 2020, the FAA said it was “investigating manufacturing defects” in about 787 aircraft.
After two fatal 737 MAX crashes in 2018 and 2019, the FAA vowed to scrutinize Boeing more closely and delegate less responsibility to Boeing for certifying the planes.
Boeing suspended deliveries of the 787 after the FAA raised concerns about the proposed inspection method. The FAA had previously issued two airworthiness directives to address manufacturing issues for in-service airplanes and identified a new issue in July 2021.
Boeing Chief Financial Officer Brian West said this week on an investor call that it had 120 of the 787s in inventory and was “making progress completing the rework needed to prepare them for delivery.” Boeing “is producing at very low rates and we will continue to do so until deliveries resume, gradually returning to 5 aircraft per month over time.”
The planemaker had only resumed deliveries in March 2021 after a five-month hiatus before halting them again. Friday’s approval came after lengthy discussions with the FAA.
The regulator had said it wanted Boeing to ensure it “has a robust plan for the rework it needs to do on a large volume of new 787s in storage” and that “Boeing’s delivery processes are stable”. .
The FAA said in February that it would retain the authority to issue certificates of airworthiness until it was confident that “Boeing’s quality control and manufacturing processes consistently produce 787s that meet FAA design standards.”
The agency’s then-administrator, Steve Dickson, told Reuters in February that the FAA needed from Boeing “a systematic overhaul of their manufacturing processes.”
Boeing in January disclosed a $3.5 billion charge due to 787 delivery delays and customer concessions, and another $1 billion in abnormal production costs stemming from manufacturing defects and related repairs and inspections.