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Federal air-safety regulators have stripped Boeing Co.’s authority to inspect and sign off on several newly produced 787 Dreamliners, part of heightened scrutiny of production problems that have halted deliveries of the popular wide-body jets.
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The Federal Aviation Administration said its inspectors, rather than the plane maker’s, would perform routine pre-delivery safety checks of four Dreamliners that Boeing has been unable for months to hand over to its airline customers while it grapples with various quality lapses.
The agency has long empowered Boeing to perform the final safety signoffs on the FAA’s behalf, allowing it to issue what are known as airworthiness certificates needed to hand over new jets to airlines. The FAA said it has withheld the same authority on some of the planes in previous years to keep inspectors’ skills current.
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Now, the FAA said its move to withhold final-approval authority was part of a broader set of actions directed at Boeing’s 787 production issues. A spokesman said the agency could decide to have its own inspectors sign off on more Dreamliners. “We can extend the retention to other 787 aircraft if we see the need,” he said.
A Boeing spokesman said Wednesday that the company has engaged the FAA throughout its efforts to resume Dreamliner deliveries and would follow the agency’s direction on final approvals as it has in the past. The spokesman said Boeing was “encouraged by the progress our team is making” on restarting the deliveries.