The flight testing is done, the Federal Aviation Administration has issued its approval and as of today Boeing can say the 787 Dreamliner is certified to carry passengers.
The FAA presented Boeing with a type certificate and production certificate for the innovative composite airliner during a ceremony at Boeing’s factory north of Seattle. The pieces of paper mean the Dreamliner can begin commercial service, and they represent the culmination of several billion dollars of investment for the aerospace giant and almost as many headaches.
Boeing attempted a grand experiment with the Dreamliner, one that proved far more difficult to execute than anyone imagined. The 787 project took more than three years longer than expected, and the delays cost Boeing untold amounts of money in lost sales. Still, the company has orders for more than 800 Dreamliners and hopes customers will find the airplane was worth waiting for.
“This is going to be an airplane that changes the game,” Boeing Commercial Airplanes CEO Jim Albaugh told the crowd gathered around the first 787, airplane ZA001. “Once our customers get this airplane, I think they’ll forgive us for the fact that it was a little bit late.”
The hard work is only beginning, and more headaches may be ahead. Boeing has shown the composite airplane works as promised. Now it has to prove it can build Dreamliners quickly and efficiently in order to see a profitable return on its investment.
Normally, this would be greeted as a disaster because of the long delay, but people are clamoring for an improved flying experience, so there’s still a lot of hope for Boing’s Dreamliner.