On Friday, the Federal Aviation Administration announced it is opening a formal investigation into the design, manufacture and assembly of the Boeing (NYSE:BA) 787. This follows a recent rash of safety incidents aboard Boeing 787 Dreamliners.
"We are confident that the aircraft is safe. But we need to have a complete understanding of what is happening," FAA Administrator Michael P. Huerta is quoted as saying in an agency press release. United Airlines is currently the only U.S. airline operating the 787, with six airplanes delivered, according to the FAA, and the worldwide in-service fleet includes 50 aircraft.
In a statement confirming its cooperation in the investigation, Boeing declared itself "confident in the design and performance of the 787" and called it "a safe and efficient airplane." While separate incidents involving the plane's electrical system, brakes, and fuel tanks have grabbed headlines in recent days, Boeing urged investors to put the incidents in perspective, noting that "the airplane has logged 50,000 hours of flight and there are more than 150 flights occurring daily," versus only a handful of incidents.
The company compared the 787's performance to that of the earlier Boeing 777, saying the 787's performance is "on par with the industry's best-ever introduction into service -- the Boeing 777. Like the 777, at 15 months of service, we are seeing the 787's fleet wide dispatch reliability well above 90 percent."
The review with an emphasis on the aircraft's electrical power and distribution system may take several months, the FAA said.