Questioning quality, FAA to sign off Boeing 787s themselves

Alex JW Robinson /

In order to address the production quality issues related to the Boeing 787 Dreamliner, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has stripped the manufacturer from issuing the final airworthiness certificates on four aircraft for the time being.

“The FAA is taking a number of corrective actions to address Boeing 787 production issues,” read a statement by the agency, as one of the mitigating efforts will be that the FAA would initially “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.”

The usual procedure, as defined by the FAA’s Organization Designation Authorization (ODA) program, allowed manufacturers, if they are approved as Production Certification (PC) ODAs, to issue airworthiness certificates (AC) to newly produced aircraft themselves.

The US authority notified Boeing that it would issue ACs to four 787 Dreamliner aircraft in January 2021, according to a letter first seen by Bloomberg.

The aircraft in question has experienced quality issues throughout the past year, starting with fuselage skin concerns, which first forced Boeing to ground eight 787s in August 2020. A plethora of issues, including problems with the manufacturing of the vertical tail fin and horizontal stabilizer, have followed. The most recent potential defect that following a change of procedures at one of the suppliers for the aircraft, Boeing was conducting checks on whether the 787 flight deck windows were up to par.

All in all, the production issues forced a comprehensive review of its production procedures. As a result, the company has not delivered any Dreamliners since October 2020, when Boeing shipped off four 787s to customers during the same month.

By late-January 2021, the planemaker was hopeful to once again hand over one of its poster children aircraft to customers in Q1 2021, reducing the inventory of 787s Boeing accumulated due to the aforementioned review of the aircraft’s production.

Whether the FAA issuing ACs for four Dreamliners, with the potential to increase the number of aircraft certified by the authority after they have been produced, will affect the deliveries, remains unclear.

AeroTime News approached Boeing for comment prior to the publication of the story.


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