Boeing 787 Dreamliner design is safe says US air authority

Boeing 787 Dreamliner Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Despite the technical issues the Dreamliner continues to remain popular

The design and manufacture of Boeing's 787 Dreamliner is safe, the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has said.

It had ordered a review of the plane after battery problems grounded the entire fleet last year.

The FAA said some of Boeing's suppliers did not follow industry standards for inspection that include training and testing requirement for inspectors.

But it said "effective processes" had been implemented to correct issues that arose during and after certification.

"For manufacturing, early issues with suppliers implementing the new business processes are being addressed, and improvements are in progress throughout the supply chain," said the report, issued jointly by the FAA and Boeing's critical systems review team.

The report added that while some design issues had occurred, their causes tended to represent "individual escapes in the design or manufacture of the airplane".

It said "a certain number of such escapes are to be expected in the development of a complex product such as a large airplane, due to state-of-the-art limitations in current design, manufacturing, and certification processes".

Technical issues

The 787 Dreamliner is considered to be one of the most advanced planes in the industry. However, it has been hit by a series of issues.

Last year, its entire fleet was grounded by regulators amid safety concerns.

That was after a fire in one of Japan Airlines' 787 Dreamliners, and a battery fault forced an All Nippon Airways (ANA) flight forced it to make an emergency landing.

The planes have since been given permission to fly again and Boeing has redesigned the battery system. However, the precise cause of the problem was never conclusively proved.

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Boeing is checking 787s under production for potential hairline cracks in the wings

The plane has also suffered other issues in the recent past.

In July last year, a fire broke out on a 787 jet operated by Ethiopian Airlines while it was parked at London's Heathrow Airport. It was traced to the upper rear part of the plane where a locator transmitter is placed.

In August, ANA said it had found damage to the battery wiring on two 787 locator transmitters during checks.

US carrier United Airlines also found a pinched wire during an inspection of one of its six 787s.

Later in the year, one of the two engine-protecting anti-ice systems failed on a jet operated by Japan Airlines.

Earlier this month, Boeing said it was checking Dreamliner planes being produced in the US for potential "hairline cracks" in their wings.

That move came after Japanese supplier Mitsubishi Heavy Industries warned Boeing that a change in its manufacturing process may cause cracks.

Despite these issues, the plane continues to remain popular and Boeing has received orders for more than 1,000 jets since its launch.