Boeing resumes 787 deliveries, but another lull looms

American Airlines takes Boeing’s first 787 since May 2021, but handovers will be scarce after initial deliveries.

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Release Date
August 10, 2022
Boeing resumes 787 deliveries, but another lull looms
It’s been almost two years since eight 787s were abruptly removed from service after Boeing engineers found that the lack of smoothness of its carbon fiber skin combined with wafer-thin spacers could compromise the structural integrity of the aircraft.

Those findings, first reported by The Air Current, kicked off a search for quality problems across undelivered and in-service 787s. The numerous issues uncovered cascaded across the airplane and halted Boeing’s delivery stream in May 2021 as the Federal Aviation Administration gave the company little alternative.

Related: Boeing grapples with a ‘Pandora’s box’ on 787

On August 8, nearly two years later, the FAA declared Boeing ready to begin delivering 787s again. An American Airlines 787-8 got the all-clear from the FAA the same day, allowing it to be turned over to the airline. On August 10, Boeing formally handed over the aircraft to American, restarting 787 deliveries.

It’s an extremely welcome development for a plane maker beset by necessary regulatory scrutiny and airlines clamoring for twin-aisle capacity as the pandemic’s pent up demand fuels an international air traffic rebound. Though the restart of deliveries to customers like American and British Airways will reopen the flow of new twin-aisle passenger planes, the return to a regular tempo remains a long way off.

“They are going to deliver four airplanes and it will all come to a screeching halt again,” said one Boeing staffer directly familiar with the upcoming tempo of 787 deliveries.

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