Boeing Balked at FAA Review of 787

U.S. regulators Friday began a comprehensive review of the design and assembly of Boeing Co.'s BA -2.50%new 787 jet, a move initially resisted by the company, according to people familiar with the matter.

Regulators reiterated that the aircraft remains safe to fly despite recent electrical and other technical problems.

In an unusual move, Friday's news conference announcing the review was attended by Ray Conner, president of Boeing's commercial-airplane unit, who defended the Dreamliner plane's safety and said Boeing will work with the Federal Aviation Administration on the review. But people familiar with the discussions said Boeing fought unsuccessfully for days to head off or deflect the FAA announcement, arguing it was unwarranted and threatened to undermine investor, customer and passenger confidence in the plane.

Boeing spokesman John Dern said it was inaccurate that Boeing opposed the review. He said Boeing's discussions with officials were about "the scope and structure of the review" and to "ensure that an accurate picture of the 787's performance" would be reflected in Friday's news conference. "Our engagement with the FAA was cooperative and constructive from the outset," he said.

The FAA review doesn't ground any of the Dreamliner planes or require immediate inspections or repairs, and airlines around the globe continued to operate the 50 twin-engine Dreamliners that Boeing has already delivered. But the move poses a significant new challenge for the Chicago-based plane maker at a time when it is trying to increase production and cut costs on the plane after years of expensive delays.

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