The US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has tightened scrutiny on Boeing’s production of its 787 widebody, by stripping the airframer of its authority to sign off four newly-produced jets.
The FAA says in a statement that its inspectors — rather than Boeing — will retain the authority to issue airworthiness certificates for four 787 aircraft.
“The FAA can retain the authority to issue airworthiness certificates for additional 787 aircraft if we see the need,” it adds.
The agency did not state when it intended to do so, or what “production issues” it referred to. On previous occasions, it has allowed Boeing to sign off on its behalf, allowing it to issue the airworthiness certificates.
The agency adds in its latest statement that it has “retained the authority to issue airworthiness certificates for some 787 aircraft over the past few years so FAA inspectors can fulfill their inspection-currency requirements.”
Boeing, in response to the FAA’s latest statement, says it is “encouraged” by the progress made on rectifying production issues.
“We have engaged the FAA throughout this effort and will implement their direction for airworthiness certification approval of the initial airplanes as they have done in the past,” the airframer adds.
The FAA’s move is part of a wider series of “corrective actions” the agency has taken against Boeing to address production issues.
In February, the agency ordered the inspection of cargo compartments on the popular widebody, after it received “reports of multiple incidents”.
The directive will require “repetitive inspections” of the forward and aft cargo areas of 787s for disengaged or torn decompression panels, which should be reinstalled or replaced if necessary.
Boeing has not delivered a 787 aircraft since October 2020, amid a deliveries pause it imposed to perform airframe inspections related to quality issues. The airframer said in a January earnings call that it expects to resume deliveries before the end of the first quarter of this year.