FAA to begin regular audit of Boeing plants

In a few days, the Federal Aviation Administration will start a regularly scheduled audit of Boeing Commercial Airplanes production lines to ensure everything is up to snuff, according to the agency.

The FAA conducts the audit every two years to verify compliance with Boeing’s FAA-issued production certificate, known as PC700.

The last time an FAA audit was performed, the company’s North Charleston, S.C., facility was not included. The site where Boeing makes aft and mid-body sections of the 787 Dreamliner and does final assembly of some 787s was added to the certificate later in 2012.

The revolutionary plane has been dogged by minor issues, but the company says Dreamliner performance reliability is improving.

Also, Boeing has hired contractors and reassigned workers at the South Carolina operation as the 787 program increased to producting 10 airplanes a month, said Candy Eslinger, a spokeswoman for the company there.

Most 787s are produced in Everett, with South Carolina still struggling to pick up the pace. But aerospace industry analysts say it will only be a matter of time until that happens.

“We do have some challenges, but we see no risk to the program’s ability to meet its commitments of 10 planes a month,” she said.

Last week, the Everett plant rolled out the first 787 built at that increased rate, which is the highest production rate ever for a twin-aisle airplane, according to the company.

It was a 787-8 — the 155th Dreamliner built — and will be delivered to International Lease Finance Corp. for operation by Aeromexico, according to Boeing.

“The entire 787 team is now focused on capturing efficiencies at this historic level of production, as well as meeting our commitment to increase the production rate to 12 per month in 2016 and to 14 per month by the end of the decade,” said Larry Loftis, who oversees the 787 program and is a vice president with Boeing Commercial Airplanes.

So far, Boeing has delivered 115 Dreamliners to 16 customers, and has 1,030 orders from 60 customers.

Dan Catchpole: 425-339-3454; dcatchpole@heraldnet.com.

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