New 787 Dreamliner problem could slow delivery of 90 jets in Boeing inventory

By Valerie Insinna

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Boeing said on Tuesday it was slowing deliveries of its 787 Dreamliner after the company discovered a new production flaw, but expressed optimism it could deliver 70 to 80 of the widebody aircraft this year. as expected.

The issue, which does not pose a flight safety concern, involves an assembly of the 787’s horizontal stabilizer made by a Boeing production facility in Salt Lake City, Utah, the company said.

Boeing will have to inspect all 90 Dreamliners in its inventory before they can be delivered, and it expects it will take two weeks to repair each plane, the company added.

Boeing said it discovered last week that the fitting included wedging — a material that fills gaps between surfaces on an aircraft — that was incorrectly sized and did not meet specifications. On Friday, it stopped issuing tickets for the 787s suspected of having the non-delivery, the company said.

The problem does not immediately affect 787s in service, Boeing said, but the company could not say how far back the problem goes or whether Dreamliners currently operated by airlines will need a fix.

Boeing, which announced last week that it had increased 787 production from three to four jets per month, said 787 production had not halted due to the problem.

“We have notified the FAA and our customers and are keeping them informed of our progress,” Boeing said in a statement, referring to the US Federal Aviation Administration.

While the redesign “will affect the 787’s near-term delivery schedule,” the company believes it can still deliver 70 to 80 Dreamliners this year, Boeing said.

Shares of Boeing, which fell 2.4% immediately after the default announcement, were down 1% on Tuesday afternoon.

The 787’s latest issue mirrors production issues discovered in 2020-21, which included ill-fitting shims that led to very thin gaps between the surfaces of the Dreamliner’s fuselage.

Boeing halted 787 deliveries at several points during that period, resuming them in August after accepting an FAA-approved modification plan for Dreamliners in the company’s inventory.

The company faced another 787 delivery halt in February after Boeing discovered a data analysis error regarding the forward pressure bulkhead that was unrelated to the stalling issue. In March, the FAA said it would allow Boeing to restart 787 deliveries as the US aircraft maker addressed concerns.

The latest 787 production flaw comes as Boeing grapples with a 737 carrier installation issue revealed in April that has slowed deliveries of the revenue-generating family of narrow-body jets, including the MAX 8 model. the most sold.

Boeing CEO Dave Calhoun in April called the problem a “gnarled defect” that was nearly impossible for workers to visibly assess. The company said last month that it had started delivering reworked 737s.

(Reporting by Valerie Insinna in Washington; Editing by Will Dunham and Deepa Babington)

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