The Federal Aviation Administration has reportedly told Boeing Co. that an updated version of its 777 long-haul airliner is not ready for certification, and likely won’t be until late 2023.
The Seattle Times first reported Sunday that the FAA sent Boeing BA, -0.87% a letter dated May 13 warning it may require more test flights for the 777X and that a key safety certification is realistically more than two years away. Reuters and Bloomberg News later separately confirmed the report.
The letter reportedly noted a number of concerns, including problems with the jetliner’s flight-control software, which abruptly pitched the plane without pilots’ input during a December 2020 test flight.
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The 777X program has been significantly delayed due to the pandemic. The FAA’s 2023 prediction is in line with Boeing’s current outlook, announced in January. That would push the 777X’s commercial debut into 2024, about four years behind its original schedule.
Earlier this year, the aircraft maker reported a $6.5 billion pretax charge on the 777X program.
In a statement Sunday, the FAA said it “will not approve any aircraft unless it meets our safety and certification standards.”
Boeing shares are up 16% year to date, and up 46% over the past 12 months.