A major US-based air carrier American Airlines is cutting passenger flights to Madrid in Spain citing delays in Boeing 787 Dreamliner deliveries.
American Airlines has made significant adjustments to its flight schedule for the upcoming summer season of 2023. On March 24, 2023, the Texas-based airline announced it would temporarily suspend operations between the US and Spain, particularly on Philadelphia (PHL) – Madrid (MAD) route. According to the carrier’s spokesperson, the move was taken due to the Boeing 787 Dreamliner delivery delays.
The route, which the airline planned to serve with the wide-body airliner, will remain suspended for several weeks between May and June 2023.
“We remain committed to our customers and team members and mitigating the impact of the 787 delivery delays while continuing to offer a robust international network this summer,” an American Airlines spokesperson said.
There are several air carriers, including American Airlines, United Airlines, Lufthansa, Emirates, Qatar Airways, Etihad Airways, and Vistara that have been long waiting for the 787 delivery issues to be resolved. For instance, in January 2023, Indian airline Vistara decided to put the launch of direct passenger flights to the US on hold, citing the same ongoing disruptions. At the time, the joint venture carrier between Tata Sons and Singapore Airlines had been eyeing the launch of direct scheduled passenger services between India and the United States, but the ongoing delivery disruptions meant that the airline would be lacking wide-body airliners and would face a gap in the capacity it would need to fly to the destination.
As of March 26, 2023, American Airlines had 34 Boeing 787-8s as well as 22 Boeing 787-9 Dreamliners, Planespotters.net data indicated.
According to Ch-aviation.com, in February 2023, the US carrier expanded its aircraft fleet with five additional 787-9s. It currently awaits delivery of a further nine Dreamliners which the airline ordered in April 2018.
A production issue with the Boeing 787 Dreamliner was first found in August 2020 after it appeared that the aft fuselage section of some 787s would not be able to withstand maximum stress, making it more prone to structural failure while in the air. Then another problem related to the tail fin of the aircraft was found. In September 2020, inspections found some parts of the horizontal stabilizer of the plane were clamped together with greater force than they were designed to.
Due to multiple production defects found on the newly built planes, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) halted the certification process of Dreamliner in May 2021. The US regulator allowed the manufacturer to resume aircraft deliveries in August 2022. But due to labor shortages and global supply chain constraints, Boeing has been struggling to return to previous Dreamliner production rates.
According to the manufacturer’s website, Boeing currently has a total of 515 unfilled Dreamliner orders.