After a halt of over a year, the manufacturer got FAA approval this week for airlines to begin receiving new 787s
American Airlines has taken delivery of its first new 787 Dreamliner since April 2021, after the Federal Aviation Administration gave final approval Monday for Boeing to resume deliveries of the widebody jetliners.
American, which has more than 40 of the new aircraft on the order books, took delivery from the Boeing facility in South Carolina, according to an Instagram post from the airline’s CEO Robert Isom. “This is the first of nine 787s we expect to receive this year,” Isom said.
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The carrier said it expects the aircraft to enter service in the coming weeks. Currently American has 47 Dreamliners in service — 25 787-8s and 22 787-9s. “We appreciate the work done by the Federal Aviation Administration and Boeing during the review process,” the airline said Wednesday.
Deliveries of new 787s had been on hold since 2020, after a series of production problems were uncovered, prompting the FAA to require additional manufacturing fixes and improved quality checks. In a statement, the agency said it is satisfied with the changes Boeing has developed for validating fixes to each plane before it is delivered.
The agency’s announcement came after acting FAA administrator Billy Nolen met last week with safety inspectors from the agency and Boeing officials in Charleston, SC.
According to the agency, the purpose of Nolen’s visit was “to ensure that the FAA is satisfied that Boeing has taken the appropriate steps to improve manufacturing quality and to guarantee the autonomy of workers who ensure regulatory compliance on the company’s assembly lines.”
The FAA’s decision clears the way for Boeing to resume deliveries of the twin-aisle jetliners, allowing the manufacturer to start clearing a backlog of some 120 aircraft.
The manufacturer says it has been working with regulators to develop new inspection procedures and modification plans. Earlier this year, Boeing’s CEO Dave Calhoun told employees, “We are progressing through a comprehensive effort to ensure every [Dreamliner] in our production system conforms to our exacting specifications.”
Boeing says none of the issues raised immediate safety concerns. Nevertheless, the FAA says its own inspectors “will inspect each aircraft before issuing an airworthiness certificate.”
Since Boeing introduced the 787 Dreamliner in 2011 with All Nippon Airways as its launch customer, over 1,000 of the aircraft have taken to the skies. Another 476 Dreamliners are on the order books.
In addition to ANA, other major operators of the 787 include American, Etihad, United, Qatar Airways, British Airways and Air Canada. Among carriers still awaiting delivery of their first Dreamliner, Lufthansa has 32 on order and Emirates has 30 on the books.
Boeing developed the twin-aisle 787 in response to industry demand for more fuel-efficient modern large jets to replace its aging 767. The Dreamliners come in three types, the original 787-8 which seats 242 passengers, a stretched -9 version with a capacity of 290 passengers, and the longer -10 that can seat up to 330.
The resumption of Dreamliner deliveries would provide a boost for Boeing’s flagging balance sheet. The 120 planes which are already built and awaiting final FAA inspections reportedly represent around $20 billion in revenue to the company.