Boeing has lowered its delivery target for its undelivered 787 Dreamliner aircraft and announced that it will temporarily cut already reduced production rates after discovering a new manufacturing defect in the wide-body jets.
Boeing said Tuesday it will ship less than half of the Dreamliners it has already produced but not yet shipped to customers.
CEO Dave Calhoun said at an investor conference last month that the company would deliver the “lion’s share” of the approximately 100 Dreamliners in its portfolio this year.
Boeing stopped delivering the wide-body aircraft for the second time in a year in May as the FAA reviewed the manufacturer’s method of evaluating the aircraft. Boeing announced incorrect spacing in some parts of certain 787 aircraft, including the fuselage, for the first time last year, interrupting deliveries for five months.
The FAA said Monday that the latest problem was discovered “near the nose” with certain 787 Dreamliners that Boeing made but did not ship.
“This problem was discovered as part of the ongoing system-wide inspection of Boeing’s 787 shmming processes required by the FAA,” the agency said. The FAA’s comments were previously reported by Reuters.
“While the problem is not an immediate threat to flight safety, Boeing is committed to repairing these aircraft before deliveries resume,” the FAA said.
Most of the price of an aircraft is paid when it is delivered to customers. Further delays could therefore put another financial strain on Boeing, which is trying to regain a foothold after two fatal crashes exposed its best-selling 737 Max and the effects of the coronavirus pandemic.
“Based on data, the FAA will decide whether or not to make similar changes to 787s already in commercial service,” the FAA said.
Boeing also said Tuesday that it had delivered 45 aircraft in the past month, 33 of which were 737 Maxes. The company handed over 156 aircraft in the first half of the year, one fewer than in all of 2020 when the coronavirus devastated the industry.
Net orders for the month were 146 aircraft, while gross orders were 219, the highest in two years.
This included an order for 200 Maxes from United Airlines, which the airline announced last month along with an order for 70 Airbus narrow-body aircraft.