Boeing is dealing with an alarming new defect on its 787 Dreamliner, with certain titanium parts weaker than they should be, according to a new report.
The defect is in 787s built in the past three years and is one of the Dreamliner problems that have caused Boeing to pile up $25 billion in jet inventory, the Wall Street Journal reported Thursday, citing people familiar with the matter.
In a statement to DailyMail.com, a Boeing spokesperson confirmed that the company had received a notice from a supplier about “certain 787 parts that were incorrectly manufactured.”
“While our investigation is ongoing, we have determined that this is not an immediate safety or flight concern for the active fleet in service,” the spokesperson added.
A Boeing Co. 787 Dreamliner plane, center, seen in maintenance in ANA’s hanger at Haneda Airport in Tokyo, Japan, in April
The statement continued: “Aircraft yet to be delivered will be reworked as necessary before being delivered to the customer. All potential fleet actions will be determined through our normal review process and confirmed by the FAA.”
The apparent titanium defect is the latest evidence that Boeing is still struggling to solve production problems, following CEO David Calhoun’s efforts to improve the aircraft maker’s reputation for quality and safety.
Boeing has struggled with a host of production issues in recent years, in addition to the two deadly 737 MAX crashes that grounded that model of jet for nearly two years.
Last month, Boeing launched an urgent internal investigation after empty tequila bottles were found in a top-secret Air Force One jumbo jet being built at the company’s Texas plant.
The Dreamliner, in particular, has been plagued with concerns that have led to production halting and deliveries of the larger 787 being halted.
Deliveries of Boeing’s 787 Dreamliner, which have been suspended since May, are unlikely to resume until late October due to disagreements with US safety regulators at the Federal Aviation Administration.
Deliveries of Dreamliners were suspended for most of last year, including between November and March, after Boeing discovered manufacturing defects.
787 aircraft are manufactured at the Boeing Co. plant in Everett, Washington in a file photo. Boeing is dealing with a new defect on its 787 Dreamliner, with certain titanium parts weaker than they should be
The company announced in July that it had identified additional problems with the aircraft’s nose and was working to resolve them.
“We are making progress as we apply our quality management system to improve the first quality in our production and delivery system,” a Boeing spokesperson told DailyMail.com in a statement.
“As part of these efforts, we are continuously raising the standards we hold ourselves to. We have strengthened our focus on quality and continuously encourage all members of our team and our supply chain to raise issues that require attention,” the statement said.
“If issues come up, it’s a sign that these efforts are working. Even if these efforts have a short-term impact on operations, we are confident that this is the right approach to drive long-term safety, stability and first quality,” the spokesperson said.
Boeing said Tuesday that its aircraft shipments rose to 35 in September as it benefited from a surge in domestic travel.
Boeing said the titanium defect is ‘not an immediate safety or flight concern for the active fleet in service’
That was 13 aircraft more than in August and 24 more than in September last year.
Of the 35 jets delivered last month, 26 were 737 MAX passenger planes and one was a P-8 maritime patrol aircraft for the British Royal Air Force.
But the 787 program continues to be hampered by structural defects and deliveries remain on hold.
The close monthly snapshot comes as Boeing tries to recoup billions of dollars in lost sales from the coronavirus pandemic and move beyond a safety scandal caused by the deadly 737 MAX crashes.
Boeing also said it has supplied eight widebodies, including one 747-8 freighter to United Parcel Service, two 767 freighters to FedEx Corp and one 767 tanker to the United States Air Force.
For the year so far, Boeing has delivered 241 aircraft, up from 206 a month ago and 98 in the first nine months of 2020.
Of these, 194 were for the best-selling 737 MAX jets that returned to service at the end of 2020 after a nearly two-year safety ban.