Boeing can begin delivering 787s again, 14 months after stopping deliveries of the Dreamliner when manufacturing flaws were discovered on several undelivered models last year. American Airlines received the latest 787-8 to join its fleet from Boeing’s South Carolina factory on Wednesday.
Issues with composite skin flatness and small gaps discovered between sections of the fuselage in some undelivered 787s led Boeing to lower the production rate and stop delivering the Dreamliner in May last year. At the time, Boeing had 100 total 787s waiting to be delivered, all of which have been cleared to resume delivery flights now by the FAA.
“This milestone would not be possible without the hard work, dedication and perseverance of so many of you,” Stan Deal, president and CEO of Boeing Commercial Airplanes, said in a message to employees. “Thank you for how you have demonstrated our shared values throughout this process.”
The FAA acknowledged last year that the fuselage composite issues were internally identified by Boeing and disclosed to the FAA. While the rework of the fuselage flaws was occurring over the last year, Boeing lowered the 787 program’s production rate to below five per month.
The company reported 120 total undelivered 787 Dreamliners sitting in inventory during their July 27 second quarter 2022 earnings. Boeing CFO Brian West, speaking during the earnings call, also reported $283 million in “abnormal costs” for rework associated with the 787 program and the company still anticipates incurring up to $2 billion in abnormal costs for the program through the end of 2023.
“These costs are driven by rework and production rates below five per month. It is important to keep in mind that cash margins on the 87 remain positive and are expected to improve significantly over time,” West said during the call. “With over 400 airplanes in backlog, recent orders and commitments announced at Farnborough and additional demand as the commercial market recovers, we see a strong future for the 87 program.”