US approves first delivery of Boeing 787 Dreamliner in 21 years – sources

US approves first delivery of Boeing 787 Dreamliner in 21 years - sources
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The Boeing logo is displayed on a screen at the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in New York, U.S., August 7, 2019. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid

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WASHINGTON, Aug 8 (Reuters) – The U.S. government approved on Monday the first Boeing (BA.N) The 787 Dreamliner is being delivered starting in 2021, clearing the way for American Airlines to take ownership, people with knowledge of the matter told Reuters.

American Airlines (AAL.O) said it expects to receive its first Boeing 787 delivery of the year as early as Wednesday and that the plane will enter commercial service in the coming weeks. The aircraft is the first 787 delivery since April 2021.

Earlier on Monday, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) said it expected Boeing to resume deliveries of its 787s in the coming days after the manufacturer made inspection and modernization changes needed to meet certification standards.

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Boeing halted deliveries in May 2021 after the FAA raised concerns about the proposed inspection method. In September 2020, the FAA said it was investigating manufacturing defects in about 787 aircraft.

American Airlines said on an earnings call in July that it expects to take delivery of nine 787s this year, including two in early August. It has 42 on order, excluding the plane it expects to receive this week.

Boeing said it continues to “work transparently with the FAA and our customers to resume deliveries of the 787.”

Last month, the FAA approved Boeing’s plan for specific inspections to verify that the plane meets requirements and that all modernization work is complete.

Boeing has about 120 787s awaiting delivery. The FAA said it “will inspect each aircraft before it is certified for airworthiness and approved for delivery.” Typically, the FAA delegates ticketing authority to the manufacturer, but in some cases, such as the 737 MAX, it retains responsibility for approving each new aircraft.

After two fatal crashes of the 737 MAX in 2018 and 2019, the FAA promised to monitor Boeing more closely and delegate less responsibilities to Boeing for aircraft certification.

On Thursday, Acting FAA Administrator Billy Nolen met with FAA safety inspectors in South Carolina as the agency considered whether to allow Boeing to resume 787 deliveries.

Before Boeing halted production, the FAA previously issued two airworthiness directives to address manufacturing issues for in-service airplanes. It identified a new problem in July 2021.

The planemaker resumed deliveries in March 2021 after a five-month hiatus before suspending them again. The FAA previously said it wanted Boeing to ensure it “has a solid plan for the rework it needs to do on the large volume of new 787s in storage” and that “Boeing’s delivery processes are robust.”

In January, Boeing disclosed a $3.5 billion charge due to 787 delivery delays and customer rebates, as well as another $1 billion in unusual manufacturing costs stemming from manufacturing defects and related repairs and inspections.

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Reporting by David Shepardson; Editing by Mark Porter, Cynthia Osterman and David Gregorio

Our standards: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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