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American just received the first Boeing 787 delivery in 15 months. Here's why the FAA paused deliveries of the jet and how it impacted airlines.

American's first 787 since the FAA paused deliveries.
American's first 787 since the FAA paused deliveries.
  • The Federal Aviation Administration has given the green light to Boeing to resume deliveries of its 787 Dreamliner.
  • The agency halted deliveries in May 2021 after production flaws raised quality concerns.
  • On Wednesday, American Airlines was the first carrier to receive the plane since last year.
American Airlines announced Wednesday that it had taken delivery of a Boeing 787-8 Dreamliner.
American's first 787 since the FAA paused deliveries.
American's first 787 since the FAA paused deliveries.
The acquisition of a new jet, which is a fairly standard event for airlines, wouldn't usually seem that notable.
Singapore Airlines 787 at a delivery ceremony.
Singapore Airlines 787 at a delivery ceremony.
But, this is the first 787 the airline has received this year, and the first Boeing has delivered since May 2021 after its rollout was halted due to a series of production flaws.
Air Canada Boeing 787.
Flying internationally on an Air Canada 787.
The Dreamliner program is not new, having first flown in 2009, but it started showing problems in 2019 when Boeing engineers voluntarily grounded eight 787s.
First Boeing 787 flight.
First Boeing 787 flight.

Source: Boeing, Reuters

The employees discovered paper-width gaps in parts of the plane's fuselage, prompting the FAA to launch its own investigation.
Boeing 787s sit in Boeing's assembly line in Washington in June 2022.
Boeing 787s at Boeing's Washington assembly line in June 2022.

Source: Reuters

"Individually these issues, while not up to specifications, still meet limit load conditions," Boeing said at the time. "When combined in the same location however, they result in a condition that does not meet limit load requirements."
Boeing 787 on the assembly line.
Boeing 787 on the assembly line.

Source: Reuters

In 2020, the FAA confirmed the issues on 787 and effectively paused deliveries in October that year. However, Boeing was still able to deliver 14 jets by May 2021, including to United Airlines.
United Boeing 787.
United Boeing 787.

Source: Aviation International News

Nevertheless, the Dreamliner's problems persisted. The FAA raised concerns about the planemaker's inspection method and re-halted future deliveries on May 28, 2021.
Boeing 787s sit in Boeing's assembly line in Washington in June 2022.
Boeing 787s at Boeing's Washington assembly line in June 2022.

Source: Reuters

The FAA's strict response to the 787 came after two separate crashes involving its brand new 737 MAX jet.
Boeing 737 MAX 7.
A lineup of Boeing 737 MAX jets at Boeing's manufacturing plant.

Source: Insider

Investigators found that design flaws in the plane's flight control systems played a part in both the crash of Lion Air flight 610 in October 2018 and Ethiopian Airlines flight 302 in March 2019.
Boeing 737 MAX jets, including Lion Air.
Boeing 737 MAX jets, including Lion Air.

Source: Insider

The 737 MAX was grounded after the two fatal accidents, but the FAA gave the plane the all-clear in November 2020 after the agency approved Boeing's software fix and new pilot training.
First commercial Boeing 737 MAX flight in the US since its grounding, flown by American Airlines.
American Airlines operated the first commercial Boeing 737 MAX flight in the US since its grounding.

Source: Insider

Prior to the accidents, Boeing spent years essentially giving oversight over its own planes. However, moving forward, the FAA insisted that all Boeing planes have to comply with the agency's specific approved designs.
Boeing 737 MAX 10.
Boeing 737 MAX 10.

Source: WSJ, Delta just ordered 100 Boeing 737 MAX 10 jets to upgrade its narrowbody fleet. Take a look inside one of the test planes.

The pause left Boeing unable to deliver 120 jets, worth a collective $25 billion, and has been a long-term detriment on the aviation giant's cash flow, per the WSJ.
Japan's All Nippon Airways placed a $6 billion order for 50 Boeing 787s in 2004.
Japan's All Nippon Airways placed a $6 billion order for 50 Boeing 787s in 2004.

Source: WSJ

American was forced to cut five international routes from its summer schedule because of the delay, including Edinburgh, Scotland; Shannon Ireland; Prague, Czech Republic; Dubrovnik, Croatia; and Hong Kong.
American 787.
American 787.

Source: Insider

The setback also impacted several other carriers, like United Airlines, Lufthansa, Qatar Airways, and Emirates.
A Qatar Airways Boeing 787 Dreamliner
Insider toured one of Qatar Airways Boeing 787 Dreamliners at the Farnborough International Airshow 2022.
American CRO Vasu Rasa sent an internal memo to employees in December, which was shared with Insider, that said 13 Dreamliners were not going to be delivered on time, forcing the carrier to make the cuts.
American Airlines Boeing 787 Dreamliner taxiing at Athens International airport.

Source: Insider

American's vice president of network planning Brian Znontins told Insider that for summer 2022, the airline's widebody capacity would only be at 80% of 2019 levels due to the delayed 787 deliveries.
Boeing 787 engine.
Boeing 787 engine.

Source: Insider

"We're so disappointed in Boeing right now because they are not delivering the airplanes that they promised they would, and if they did, we would be flying even more to Europe than we are in our current schedule," he said.
First American Airlines' Boeing 787.
First American Airlines' Boeing 787.

Source: Insider

Nevertheless, Rasa told employees that the airline still has "great confidence in the Dreamliner and continue to work with Boeing on when these planes can be ultimately delivered to us."
AA plane
An American Airlines Boeing 787 Dreamliner.

Source: Insider

Now, after years of paused deliveries, the FAA finally approved Boeing's plan for fixing the problems and gave permission for the planemaker to resume deliveries of the jet.
Boeing 787s at Boeing's Washington assembly line.
Boeing 787s at Boeing's Washington assembly line in June 2022.
Last Thursday, FAA acting Administrator Billy Nolen met with inspectors in South Carolina ahead of the approval.
A Boeing 787 outside North Carolina assembly line.
A Boeing 787 outside the South Carolina assembly line.

Source: Reuters

The agency said the visit was "to ensure that the FAA is satisfied that Boeing has taken the appropriate steps to improve manufacturing quality and to guarantee the autonomy of workers who ensure regulatory compliance on the company's assembly lines."
Boeing 787s at the South Carolina assembly line.
Boeing 787s at the North Carolina assembly line.

Source: Reuters

American was the first airline to receive a 787 jet since May 2021.
American's first 787 since the FAA paused deliveries.
American's first 787 since the FAA paused deliveries.

Source: American Airlines

However, the FAA said it still insists that federal inspectors need to assess the airworthiness of each aircraft prior to approving final delivery. American's plane passed inspection on Monday, per the WSJ, citing people familiar with the matter.
American's first 787 since the FAA paused deliveries.
American's first 787 since the FAA paused deliveries.

Source: Aviation Week, NPR

With Wednesday's delivery, the airline has 47 active 787s, with a further 42 on order. It expects eight more jets to be delivered by the end of 2022.
Boeing 787 Dreamliner American Airlines Aircraft to Fiumicino Leonardo da Vinci Airport
American Airlines cancels 1,175 more flights for July and August.

Source: WSJ

Lufthansa is expecting to add the first of 32 787's the airline has on order "within the next few months".
Lufthansa's first Boeing 787, named Berlin.
Lufthansa's first Boeing 787, named Berlin.

Source: Simple Flying, Lufthansa

The German carrier's first Dreamliner has been named Berlin, while the second will be named Frankfurt am Main.
Lufthansa's first Boeing 787, named Berlin.
Lufthansa's first Boeing 787, named Berlin.
Read the original article on Business Insider








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