Boeing on Monday conducted a preliminary test flight in preparation for the recertification of the Dreamliner battery system. A battery fire in January has caused the worldwide fleet of 787s to be grounded for the past several months. Boeing officials said that the flight went "according to plan."
The Seattle Times reports that Boeing said the flight would be a normal production check flight to assure that systems perform as they are designed. The company said that a formal certification flight was planned for later this week for the FAA.
But even as the planemaker works to get the Dreamliners flying again, the company announced Friday that it would be laying off as many as 800 machinists working on the 787 and 747-8 programs. The Times reports that Boeing Spokesman Doug Alder said that the total number of positions to be cut could be as high as 2,300.
Alder said that the cuts come as production stabilizes, and that they have been anticipated. He said that they are not related to the grounding of the Dreamliner fleet, and that the layoffs will come largely from the ranks of employees who do modifications on airplanes coming off the assembly line that need additional attention.
Connie Keliher, spokeswoman for the IAM, said the layoffs are not an indication of the onset of a down cycle for Boeing, as they are not related to production rate decreases. The director of Washington State's State Office of Aerospace Alex Pietsch said that he expects that there is growth in Boeing's future as the 737 MAX comes online, and that the 787-10 and 777X programs will also help take up the slack.