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Boeing Reportedly Nearing Dreamliner Return

By Lou Whiteman - Updated Mar 25, 2021 at 5:29PM

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The plane has been grounded while the company investigates potential issues with its carbon fiber skin.

Boeing (BA -5.07%) is reportedly set to resume deliveries of its 787 Dreamliner this week after a five-month pause while the aerospace manufacturer investigated potential structural flaws in the plane's carbon fiber skin.

Last fall, Boeing discovered potentially dangerous flaws in a handful of its 787 Dreamliners around carbon fiber joints. The company has suspended deliveries while it investigates the problems, but Boeing officials had said they intend to resume deliveries in the current quarter.

A Boeing Dreamliner in flight.

A Boeing Dreamliner. Image source: Boeing.

Bloomberg today reported deliveries would resume as soon as Friday, with United Airlines Holdings near the front of the line of customers awaiting deliveries. According to the report, Boeing expects U.S. regulators to sign off on repairs made by mechanics and engineers to reinforce areas of concerns, allowing the company to start delivering the 80 planes awaiting a green light.

A Boeing spokesperson, in response to the Bloomberg report, said the company expects to resume deliveries by the end of March, but said it "will continue to take the time necessary and will adjust any delivery plans as needed."

Boeing needs to resume deliveries to reverse its significant 2020 cash burn. It ran through nearly $20 billion for the year due to factors ranging from the groundings of the Dreamliner and its 737 MAX, to falling air travel demand related to the pandemic.

Airlines are slowly recovering from the pandemic, but demand is not likely to spike higher anytime soon. For now, Boeing needs to be able to deliver the orders it has, and getting the Dreamliner flying is an important step in that process.

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