Boeing delivered its first 787 Dreamliner since October, handing over a jet to United Airlines while the planemaker continues to inspect others for small structural defects.
United received a new 787-9 on Friday and will take another Monday, a spokeswoman for the airline said. The first plane will be ferried from Charleston, South Carolina, to the carrier’s San Francisco hub on Saturday. Additional deliveries to United haven’t been scheduled. The airline has 61 of the widebody aircraft and is slated to take 10 more this year.
Friday’s handover ended a five-month delivery hiatus that has squeezed Boeing’s cash and aggravated other financial struggles amid the coronavirus pandemic and a 20-month grounding of its 737 MAX jet after two fatal crashes. More than 80 Dreamliners are in storage.
“Today, we resumed 787 deliveries following several months of rigorous engineering analysis, inspection and as-needed rework to ensure that every airplane we deliver meets all regulatory requirements,” Lane Ballard, who heads the Chicago-based company’s Dreamliner program, said in a message to employees Friday.
The Federal Aviation Administration said late Thursday that it cleared two of the four planes on which it had conducted a special review. It hadn’t completed the checks of the other two that are required for the agency to issue airworthiness certificates. The agency typically would have delegated those final inspections to Boeing employees.
Boeing workers in Washington and South Carolina continue to inspect and repair Dreamliners for tiny wrinkles in the inner lining of the planes’ carbon-fiber barrels near where they are joined to form the airframe.