Wednesday 26 November 2014

Wing cracks cause Dreamliner delay

Published 08/03/2014 | 02:27

Boeing's much-delayed 787 Dreamliner has hit another production problem (AP)
Boeing's much-delayed 787 Dreamliner has hit another production problem (AP)

Boeing's much-delayed 787 Dreamliner has hit another production problem.

Hairline cracks have been discovered in the wings of some 787s that are being built. The Chicago-based manufacturer said none of the 122 jets already flown by airlines around the world is affected.

"We are confident that the condition does not exist in the in-service fleet," Boeing spokesman Doug Alder said.

"We understand the issue, what must be done to correct it and are completing inspections of potentially affected aeroplanes."

The production problem was first reported by The Wall Street Journal.

Boeing said that roughly 40 aeroplanes might be affected and that it will take one to two weeks to inspect each plane and fix any cracks found on shear ties on a wing rib.

A shear tie is an attachment fitting. It is part of the rib, and connects the rib to the wing skin. The company would not give an overall timeframe to inspect all of the wings.

The wings are produced by Japan's Mitsubishi Heavy Industries and then flown to the US to be assembled with other parts of the plane.

Inspections are taking place at Boeing's plants in Everett, Washington, and Charleston, South Carolina, and at the Mitsubishi's plant.

While there might be short-term delivery delays, Mr Alder said Boeing does not expect this problem to affect its total year deliveries - 110 new Dreamliners in 2014.

To save on development and production costs, Boeing outsourced major sections of the 787 to other companies.

That ultimately ended up costing the company dearly as delays mounted. With suppliers spread out around the globe, Boeing was not able to oversee each part of production and fix problems quickly when they arose.

Shares of The Boeing Company fell 32 cents (19p) to 128.54 dollars (76.77) in regular trading and declined 63 cents (38p) in after-hours trading.

Press Association

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