Boeing says new problem to delay deliveries of 787 Dreamliner



Boeing Co BA.N said Tuesday it has discovered a new manufacturing issue with its 787 Dreamliner, days after it reported two separate issues that forced the grounding of eight 787 airplanes.

The technical problems, coupled with ongoing inspections by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), are set to impact deliveries, the company said. Almost 400 MAX jets were in use when the fleet was grounded worldwide in March 2019 after crashes in Indonesia and Ethiopia killed 346 people.

The FAA issued a statement Tuesday saying it was working with Boeing to investigate the flaws and it was too early to speculate on what additional steps, if any, would need to be taken. In the case of the fault with the 787's stabilizer, Boeing engineers have "determined that this is not an immediate safety of flight issue", the company said.

August did see Boeing book orders for five 737 Max jets, the first orders for the troubled plane booked in 2020.

The affected planes have not been delivered to customers yet, and Boeing "expect [s] these inspections to affect the timing of 787 deliveries in the near term", spokesman Peter Pedraza said in a statement.

The regulator is already seeking multiple civil penalties against Boeing for issues including alleged undue pressure on workers who raised safety issues.

Boeing said on Tuesday that it was inspecting separate issues that have been found where rear sections of the 787 fuselage are joined together and on part of the tail called the horizontal stabilizer. The company separately agreed to pay US$12 million in 2015 to settle multiple accusations that involved lapses in manufacturing, including at the SC facility where some of the 787s are produced.

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The Seattle-based plane manufacturer, one of the most important suppliers for the Pentagon, is going through a long rough period.

Boeing earlier identified manufacturing issues in which workers at its SC factory mated two fuselage barrels at the rear of the aircraft.

In combination, the two issues were determined to weaken the carbon-fiber hulls so that they might not withstand the highest loads the aircraft could encounter in fight.

The U.S. planemaker said during fabrication of the 787 horizontal stabilizer it learned some components were clamped with greater force than specified, which could result in improper gap verification and shimming.

Boeing said Monday some airplanes have shims that are not the proper size, and some airplanes have areas that do not meet skin flatness specifications. It's also a key profit maker for a company hemorrhaging money. The company has already conducted several test flights with FAA experts to demonstrate changes that Boeing made to computers and software after an automated system pushed down the noses of planes before they crashed.

Airbus SE delivered 39 jets last month while avoiding order cancellations.

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