Boeing says it is continuing to engage with the US Federal Aviation Administration amid news deliveries of its Boeing 787 Dreamliner will likely remain stalled until at least late October.
The Wall Street Journal reported over the weekend that the US manufacturer had been unable to persuade the FAA to approve a proposal to inspect the aircraft.
Boeing had about 100 787s awaiting delivery at the end of June as the FAA continues a review of prompted by the discovery of production defects.
The Journal reported estimates by aviation data provider Ascend by Cirium that by October 1 about half of the Dreamliners in inventory could be subject to a 12-month rule that allows buyers to walk away without financial penalty.
It said aircraft lessor Avolon Holdings, which has already canceled two 787s orders, and American Airlines could be among those looking to back out of deliveries.
The latest delay reportedly relates to an August 2 meeting in which Boeing quality assurance specialists told the FAA that three aircraft were representative of how 106 aircraft were produced.
Boeing is trying to arrive at an inspection method that will speed deliveries but the Journal said at least one Boeing engineer disagreed with the assertion that the planes were representative.
The newspaper said the FAA told Boeing that it needed to get signoff from the employee group that acts as in-house regulators and that the company had agreed to boost the sample size from three to 10 aircraft.
Boeing said in a statement that it was committed to providing full transparency to its regulators and working with the FAA “through the rigorous process to resume 787 deliveries”.
“We have engaged with the FAA on this issue in meetings and working sessions over hundreds of hours and will continue to do so,’’ it said.
“As we have said, Boeing wants and expects our teammates to speak freely, ask questions and present different perspectives about very complex and technical issues.
“We appreciate the FAA’s direction and feedback every step of the way and we adjust our approach when needed to address that feedback.
“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.”
Boeing suspended deliveries of the 787 in October 2020 and resumed them in March this year before halting them again in May when the FAA requested more information on quality issues, many involving small gaps where sections of the aircraft join together.
The company in July confirmed that it would lower the production rate of the 787 and it addressed new productions concerns.