FAA to inspect several Boeing Dreamliners due to production issues

FAA to inspect several Boeing Dreamliners due to production issues

The first commercial flight of the Qantas Boeing 787 Dreamliner aircraft on December 15, 2017 in Melbourne, Australia.
James D. Morgan | Getty Images

The Federal Aviation Administration said Wednesday that it will inspect four of Boeing’s 787 Dreamliner planes itself, rather than delegating that work to Boeing, after production issues surfaced last year.

“The FAA is taking a number of corrective actions to address Boeing 787 production issues,” the agency said in a statement. “One of the actions is retaining the authority to 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 increased scrutiny of the Dreamliners comes four months after the FAA lifted a 20-month flight ban on Boeing’s best-selling 737 Max, which the regulator grounded in March 2019 after two deadly crashes in five months. The FAA also retained its authority to sign off on Max planes that Boeing produced since the grounding.

Boeing disclosed issues with some seams on the aircraft in September.

The FAA told Boeing in January that it would give the final sign-off on the planes, according to a letter seen by CNBC. It was reported earlier by Bloomberg News. Boeing said it still expects to resume deliveries of the planes later this month.

We are encouraged by the progress our team is making on returning to delivery activities for the 787 program,” Boeing said. “We have engaged the FAA throughout this effort and will implement their direction for airworthiness certification approval of the initial airplanes as they have done in the past.”

While these most recent Dreamliner checks came in response to production issues, the FAA said it has performed final airworthiness checks on some 787s in the past few years “so FAA inspectors can fulfill their inspection-currency requirements.”