EXCLUSIVE-US FAA finds incomplete Boeing 787 certification documents-Sources by Reuters

© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: The Boeing logo is displayed on a screen at the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in New York, US, August 7, 2019. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid/

Written by Eric M. Johnson and David Shepardson

SEATTLE/WASHINGTON (Reuters) – US air safety regulators have told Boeing (NYSE:Co) that documents it submitted to win approval to resume delivery of the 787 to airlines after a year were incomplete, two sources familiar with the matter said.

The US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) identified a number of deletions in Boeing documents, which were filed in late April, and returned parts of them to the aircraft maker, one of the people said.

A second person said it was too early to say whether the FAA’s concerns would lead to new delays in resuming deliveries, which were suspended last year due to production defects.

Boeing CEO Dave Calhoun highlighted the presentation in the company’s earnings call on April 27, calling it a “very important step” and saying he was preparing the first 787s for delivery, but did not provide a date.

People briefed on the matter say that the submission was made shortly before the call.

A Boeing spokesperson said the company continues to have a transparent dialogue and is working closely with the Federal Aviation Administration on remaining steps.

An FAA spokesperson declined to provide further details, saying only: “Safety is driving the pace of our reviews.”

Clearing the bloated inventory of twin-aisle Dreamliners and best-selling 737 Max jets is vital to the US aircraft maker’s ability to emerge from the intervening pandemic and aircraft safety crises, a task complicated by supply chain bottlenecks and the war in Ukraine.

787 deliveries were halted for a year as Boeing worked through inspections and repairs in an industrial headache expected to cost about $5.5 billion. Boeing has more than 100 advanced twin-aisle jet aircraft in stock, valued at approximately $12.5 billion.

In February, the Federal Aviation Administration said it would not allow Boeing to self-certify individual new Boeing 787s. Then-FAA Administrator Steve Dixon said the agency needed Boeing to “systematically overhaul their production processes. They have to produce the quality we’re looking for that they’ve stuck to in their production line.”

The FAA said in February that it would retain the authority to issue airworthiness certifications until it was confident that “Boeing’s “quality control and manufacturing processes consistently produce 787s that meet FAA design standards.”

Reuters reported in late April that Boeing advised major airlines and parts suppliers that deliveries would resume in the second half of this year, with an industry source saying deliveries could resume within weeks.

Boeing’s certification package is a sprawling set of documents and data that shows an aircraft’s compliance, although the FAA controls the final decision. The package outlines the inspections and repairs Boeing will perform on dozens of aircraft that have been sidelined due to production defects. Documentation is a critical step before Boeing can resume deliveries.

Boeing’s chief financial officer, Brian West, made optimistic comments about the progress of the 787 at the Goldman Sachs (NYSE:) conference this week.

“The introduction of the accreditation plan was an important milestone, and it reflects a very comprehensive and comprehensive set of documents that verify our compliance,” West said. “And there was a tremendous amount of work in that, working alongside the FAA along the way.”

Boeing suspended delivery of the 787s in late May 2021 after the Federal Aviation Administration raised concerns about the proposed inspection method. The regulator issued two airworthiness directives to address production issues for in-service aircraft and identified a new issue in July.

“I’ll remind you we haven’t really seen anything new in a while,” West added. “So we’re working really hard to make sure that transmission is comprehensive, and now the FAA has it, we’re ready and willing to go into any discussion, answer any question and help them do their job as they go through some of the protocols.”

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