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Boeing delivered no Dreamliners in Q3

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Crews work on a 787 Dreamliner at the Boeing plant in North Charleston. (Photo/Kim McManus)Boeing delivered 85 airplanes in quarter three — but none of them were 787 Dreamliners and the airplane manufacturer hasn’t released a timeline for when they will resume.

Deliveries for the 787 Dreamliner program have been halted since May when the Federal Aviation Administration requested to look into further production quality issues regarding tiny gaps found between the sections of the fuselage, about the width of a human hair.

The gaps were not a safety of flight issue for the in-service fleet, Boeing said, but the company has been working since to address the problem.

“We are also continuing to complete comprehensive inspections across the 787 production system and within the supply chain, while holding detailed, transparent discussions with the FAA, suppliers and our customers,” the company said in a news release.

Production resources are focused on safety inspections and reworking of the jets on site, but President and CEO David Calhoun said on a recent earnings call that it’s not the Federal Aviation Administration cracking down on Boeing, but the company being tough on itself.

The findings were not a safety of flight issue for the in-service fleet, Boeing said, but the gaps did not meet the company’s engineering requirements. Boeing then went back to the drawing board to rework its on-site aircraft prior to delivery.

“We appreciate the FAA’s direction and feedback every step of the way and we adjust our approach when needed to address that feedback,” Boeing said in a statement. “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.”

As the work is performed, 787 production is now projected at fewer than five per month, a significant reduction from the 10 Boeing planned when they consolidated Washington operations of the jet into North Charleston. But Calhoun said the rate will gradually return and is dependent on production stability and delivering airplanes from inventory.

Calhoun shared on the earnings call that of the 100 Dreamliners in inventory, less than 50%, are expected to be delivered this year.

“While this has a near-term impact to our operations, I'm confident it's the right course of action, and we will continue to take the time necessary to ensure the highest levels of quality,” Calhoun said. “Although it's been a long journey, we believe we're closer to the end than the beginning.”

Rounding out the rest of quarter three deliveries, Boeing increased 737 MAX deliveries in the third quarter with 66 total and 179 year-to-date. Other deliveries included two 747s, six 777 and 11 777s.

Reach Teri Errico Griffis at 843-849-3144.

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