Some $25 billion worth of Boeing 787 Dreamliners may not be delivered until late October as the aviation giant tries to convince air-safety regulators that it has sufficiently addressed defects on the plane.
The latest delay comes after the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) rejected Boeing's proposal for an accelerated approval process using targeted checks on three airplanes instead of full examinations, The Wall Street Journal reported on Saturday, citing people familiar with the matter.
A total of 106 Dreamliners remain in Boeing's inventory, and months of delivery delays have caused its customers to renegotiate or cancel orders. The latest hangup centers around concerns related to areas surrounding the passenger and cargo doors, the Journal reported.
Boeing argued that the three planes it submitted for inspection were representative of all the Dreamliners in its inventory, but at least one engineer disputed that assessment to the FAA and the regulator rejected the proposal during an Aug. 2 meeting with the company.
During that meeting, the FAA reportedly flagged the internal disagreements within the company and emphasized the requirement that Boeing’s employee group, which functions as an in-house regular, must agree with the company’s safety proposals.
An FAA spokeswoman told the Journal that the agency will not approve the company’s inspections “until our safety experts are satisfied.”
Boeing ultimately agreed to get buy-in from the employee group and increased the sample size to roughly 10 jets, according to the Journal.
Boeing told the The Hill in a statement that the company is being transparent with regulators throughout the inspection process, which has already taken hundreds of hours of meetings and working sessions.
The company also said it appreciated direction and feedback from the FAA.
“While this work has a near-term impact to our operations, it's the right course of action and we will continue to take the time necessary to ensure we meet the highest standards," the company added.
A Boeing spokesperson told The Hill that the company paused deliveries of the jets around August last year because they noticed an issue with the the jets' skin flatness, but delivered some planes before the latest pause.
The news of a delay for the Boeing 787 Dreamliners comes after the FAA revealed in July that a manufacturing issue was discovered in the undelivered jets.
The agency told The Hill in a statement at the time that the issue was discovered near the nose of certain planes during an ongoing inspection. The issue, however, did not pose an immediate safety threat.