FAA Furloughs Threaten Boeing Deliveries

 - October 3, 2013, 12:04 PM
The "shutdown" of the U.S. federal government could delay deliveries of 787s from Boeing's plant in Charleston, South Carolina. (Photo: Boeing)

The partial shutdown of the federal government in the U.S. might delay deliveries from Boeing’s 787 plant in North Charleston, South Carolina, because the Federal Aviation Administration hasn’t yet granted the manufacturer authority to assign FAA certification duties to designated company employees. The FAA has had to furlough engineers responsible for issuing final authority for delivering airplanes from the Charleston plant.

“Because some FAA employees retain certification duties for some of our products, deliveries of airplanes with new configurations or those delivered from Boeing South Carolina could be delayed during the shutdown,” said Boeing in a statement. Boeing’s factories in Washington state hold FAA Organization Designation Authorization (ODA), which gives company employees there authority to perform certain FAA certification duties such as clearing airplanes for delivery. 

Meanwhile, delays in processing title transfers and registration due to the closure of the FAA flight standards district office in Oklahoma City could also present difficulties. In fact, while Boeing cited the availability of an “alternate mail-in process” to gain temporary registration, the furlough of FAA registration personnel already halted delivery of a new Airbus A321 to JetBlue on Tuesday. Executives and employees from JetBlue and Airbus gathered in Hamburg, Germany, on Tuesday to celebrate the delivery and the unveiling of the airline’s new Mint premium transcontinental product, scheduled for launch next June. A spokesman for JetBlue told AIN that although the airline won’t be able to file registration paperwork to Oklahoma City until the shutdown ends, it anticipates no operational disruptions due to the delay in the A321 delivery.