Boeing has been forced by the FAA to pause deliveries of the 787 again since late January. There seem to be uncertainties over the technical analysis and calculations of the forward pressure bulkhead that need to be clarified first. Boeing pauses 787 deliveries again over documentation issue.

The news was reported on Thursday first by the Wall Street Journal and later confirmed by Reuters, with both media quoting FAA sources and statements.

According to Reuters, Boeing discovered an “analysis error by our supplier related to the 787 forward pressure bulkhead.” The airframer notified the FAA and paused deliveries after January 26, when a 787-9 for Qatar Airways was the last Dreamliner to be delivered until now. Boeing delivered three 787s in January, including two -9s and one -10.

The supllier that is referred to in the quote is Spirit AeroSystems, which is producing the nose section 41 that includes the forward pressure bulkhead. When the production quality issues on the aft fuselage sections of the 787 first became evident in the autumn of 2019, subsequent investigations by Boeing and all suppliers also revealed more issues. One of them was the nose section and pressure bulkhead.

Spirit had stated before that it has fully analysed and corrected the problem and is doing rework on all 787s that are in inventory, of which 100 were left by the end of December. In a statement to Reuters, the company said yesterday that it is “too early to assert there was an ‘analysis error’ by Spirit.”

The FAA will want to get to the bottom of this to make sure no hidden problems remain on the 787. Last spring, the agency rejected documents filed by Boeing on the 787, stating at the time that they were inadequate for it deliveries to be resumed after they had been paused in May 2021. Only in August 2022, Boeing was allowed to resume them. It delivered 31 Dreamliners in 2022 and three so far in 2023.

It is not clear yet if the latest situation means that all 34 Dreamliners need to be inspected again and require more rework.  

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Active as a journalist since 1987, with a background in newspapers, magazines, and a regional news station, Richard has been covering commercial aviation on a freelance basis since late 2016.
In 2022, he has gone full-time freelance. Richard has been contributing to AirInsight since December 2018. He is also writing for Airliner World and Aviation News. From January 2023, he will add a part-time role with Dutch website and magazine Luchtvaartnieuws. Twitter: @rschuur_aero.

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