US aircraft manufacturer Boeing is grappling with new production issues with the long-haul model Boeing 787. The company must suspend deliveries of the aircraft until further notice after quality defects have occurred in the bulkhead pressure before. United will therefore further reduce the production rate of the 787, which is nominally five jets per month. Boeing stock lost around 2% in the morning.
The latest 787 program issues are part of a long list of issues making it difficult for Boeing to restart after the dramatic depths of the coronavirus pandemic and the 737 MAX flight ban. Boeing did not deliver a 787 between October 2020 and February 2021 due to similar quality flaws. In the whole of 2021, there have been only 14 jets so far. These were not the same components, but the connection of fuselage elements for which the tolerances did not correspond to the standard.
Another major setback was the decision of the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) not to approve certification tests for the new Type 777X long-haul aircraft. Boeing has not commented in detail on the new 787 delay. As with previous issues, the deficiencies apparently do not directly affect flight safety. However, customers may insist that they be eliminated because they fail to meet contractual commitments.
The FAA said Boeing informed the agency of the events. The company also promised to repair the affected machines before delivery. Based on the analyzes, the FAA will then decide whether the already delivered jets need further modification. For this, the authority usually sets specifications, also with regard to the deadline. A lot of touch-ups don’t have to happen immediately.
Relations between Boeing and the FAA are currently very strained. Following the two crashes involving the 737 MAX that led to the worldwide flight ban, the FAA has also come under fire. The charge: the authority did not sufficiently monitor Boeing. The manufacturer is also now feeling the effects of the 777X, a modernized version of the 777 built since the 1990s. The FAA has refused to give Boeing approval for the flight tests, which count towards certification, and demanded that the computers to flight controls be reworked. This would not have had any impact on the schedule so far – the first 777X are due to be delivered by the end of 2023, including to Lufthansa.