On July 17, Boeing told reporters it was “very close” to restarting 787 deliveries.
The FAA referred questions about the approval to Boeing. “We do not comment on ongoing certifications,” the agency said.
Boeing did not confirm the approval on Friday, but said it “will continue to work transparently with the FAA and our customers to resume deliveries of the 787.”
Boeing has faced production problems with the 787 for more than two years. In September 2020, the FAA said it was “investigating manufacturing faults” in some 787 passenger planes.
In the wake of two fatal 737 MAX crashes in 2018 and 2019, the FAA has vowed to take a closer look at Boeing and delegate less responsibility to Boeing for aircraft certification.
Boeing suspended deliveries of the 787 after the FAA raised concerns about the proposed inspection method. The FAA had previously issued two airworthiness directives to address production issues for aircraft in service and identified a new issue in July 2021.
Boeing CFO Brian West said this week on an investor call that he had 120 of the 787s in inventory and was “progressing to complete the necessary rework to get them ready for delivery.” Boeing is “producing at very low rates and we will continue to do so until deliveries resume, gradually returning to 5 aircraft per month over time.”
The planemaker only resumed deliveries in March 2021 after a five-month hiatus before stopping them again. Friday’s approval came after lengthy discussions with the FAA.
The regulator had said it wanted Boeing to make sure it “has a solid plan for the rework it needs to do on a large volume of new 787s in storage” and that “Boeing’s delivery processes are stable.”
The FAA said in February that it would retain the authority to issue airworthiness certificates until it is certain that “Boeing’s quality control and manufacturing processes consistently produce 787s that meet FAA design standards.”
The agency’s then-administrator, Steve Dickson, told Reuters in February that the FAA needed “a systemic solution to its production processes” from Boeing.
In January, Boeing disclosed a $3.5 billion charge due to 787 delivery delays and customer concessions, and another $1 billion in abnormal production costs stemming from manufacturing defects and related repairs and inspections.