American Airlines has taken delivery of a Boeing 787 Dreamliner after the USA’s aviation regulator green-lighted deliveries following a pause lasting most of the previous 21 months.
Boeing handed the aircraft to the airline on 10 August at the airframer’s production facility in North Charleston, South Carolina.
The Fort Worth-based carrier’s chief executive Robert Isom celebrated the event on Instagram: “This is an exciting day for American Airlines as we took delivery of our first Boeing 787-8 since April 2021.”
“The 787 is an important part of American’s fleet and this is the first of nine 787s we expect to receive this year,” he says.
Boeing confirms it has resumed 787 deliveries, “following our thorough engineering analysis, verification and rework activities, to ensure all airplanes conform to Boeing’s exacting specifications and regulatory requirements”.
“We remain committed to maintaining transparent discussions with our regulators, customers and suppliers to ensure we continue to deliver airplanes that meet all regulatory requirements and Boeing’s highest quality standards,” the airframer says.
Stan Deal, chief executive officer for Boeing Commercial Airplanes, tells employees in an internal note, “Resuming deliveries [of the 787] is a beginning. I look forward to many more as we continue to focus on safety, quality and stability”.
Earlier this week, the FAA said the Arlington, Virginia-headquartered airframer would resume deliveries of its beleaguered 787 Dreamliner “in the coming days”, without further specifying the timeline.
The company had “made the necessary changes to ensure that the 787 Dreamliner meets all certification standards,” the US aviation regulator had said.
The FAA said it will inspect every 787 before certificated and delivery.
Last month, American hinted at a possible timeline, with executives telling analysts on the company’s quarterly earnings call that they expected Boeing to resume deliveries during the third quarter.
In addition to the nine 787-8s it will take on this year, American plans to accept four of the type in 2023, and 12 in 2024. American has 42 787s on order. Two airframes are expected to arrive with the carrier as early as this month, Isom had said. American currently operates 47 787s, split between the -8 and -9 variants.
Boeing has not delivered 787s for most of the last 21 months – since October 2020 – due to manufacturing quality issues largely involving gaps between fuselage sections being larger than specified. Boeing briefly resumed in 2021 before pausing again.
The 787 delivery halt came as Boeing stopped making 787s at what had been its prime manufacturing facility in Everett, leaving its North Charleston, South Carolina facility as its sole production site for the widebody aircraft.
The quality issue spurred a broad review by the Federal Aviation Administration, which has heightened its regulatory oversight since taking criticism for its certification of the 737 Max.
Boeing adds on 10 August that the manufacturing issues did not cause an ”immediate concern” for safety of flights of the in-service fleet. Also, airframes coming off the production line now do not require post-production join-verification and rework.
Boeing launched the Dreamliner programme in 2004, and the first airframe entered revenue service in October 2011. Eighty customers from six continents have ordered nearly 1,500 787s, the company adds.