Hundreds of Boeing Dreamliners ‘face inspection by the FAA’ after defect grounds at least eight 787 jets in latest setback for aircraft maker after two deadly crashes
- Boeing last month said eight 787 Dreamliners had been removed from service
- That came after the planemaker identified two distinct manufacturing issues
- Now the FAA may mandate inspections that could cover hundreds of jets
- Such a safety directive could cover 900 Dreamliners delivered since 2011
The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is considering inspections that could cover hundreds of Boeing Co’s (BA.N) 787 Dreamliners after production issues at one plant, according to reports.
Boeing last month said that some airlines operating its 787 Dreamliners have removed eight jets from service after the planemaker identified two distinct manufacturing issues in the fuselage section.
The FAA may mandate enhanced or accelerated inspections that could cover hundreds of jets in potential lapses stretching back a decade, The Wall Street Journal reported, citing an internal government memo and people familiar with the matter.
In the memo dated August 31, Boeing told FAA that it had manufactured some parts at its South Carolina facilities that failed to meet its standards, according to the paper.
The company found manufacturing defects on some of its 787 long-range airliners in areas where parts of the fuselage are joined together, the latest setback for the aircraft maker whose 737 Max is still grounded after two deadly crashes.
Such a safety directive could cover as many as 900 Dreamliners delivered since 2011, according to the report. The final language of the directive depends on ongoing reviews by Boeing and the FAA.
The FAA and Boeing did not immediately respond to requests for comment by Reuters.
Being 787-8 Dreamliner airplanes of Singapore low-cost carrier Scoot Tigerair, grounded due to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, are parked at the Asia Pacific Aircraft Storage facility in Alice Springs, Australia at the end of last month
The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is said to be considering inspections that could cover hundreds of Boeing Co’s 787 Dreamliners after production issues at one plant
The company had said that eight planes must be inspected and repaired before they are allowed to fly, and it contacted the airlines, which removed those planes from service.
Boeing declined to identify the airlines involved, but United Airlines, Air Canada and Singapore Airlines confirmed that each has one plane grounded for inspection.
Boeing Co. said that it discovered ‘two distinct manufacturing issues’ toward the rear of certain 787s that means the planes don´t meet design standards. The company said it notified the Federal Aviation Administration and is trying to determine the cause of the problem.
It is understood the issue stems from checks on the material that fills gaps between sections of the jets’ main body section, known as shims.
The issue was first reported by The Air Current, which said it was the first known instance of a structural problem with the plane´s mostly carbon-fiber fuselage causing Boeing to tell airlines to ground 787s.
The 787, which Boeing calls the Dreamliner, entered service at many airlines in 2011 and became popular with airlines for longer routes because of size and fuel efficiency.
Boeing has delivered nearly 1,000 of them.
In 2013, when there were about 50 787s in service, the planes were grounded worldwide for three months after battery packs on two of them overheated, including a Japan Airlines 787 that was parked at Boston’s Logan Airport.
Regulators allowed 787s to resume flying after Boeing redesigned the housing around lithium-ion batteries used for auxiliary power systems including the electrical system in the cockpit.
Ethiopian Federal policemen stand at the scene of the Ethiopian Airlines Flight ET 302 plane crash in March 2019
Indonesian people examining debris of the ill-fated Lion Air flight JT 610 in Jakarta in 2018
Last year, Singapore Airlines grounded two of its 787s after finding that fan blades on some Rolls Royce engines deteriorated faster than expected.
The Boeing 737 MAX has been grounded worldwide since March 13, 2019, following an Ethiopian Airlines crash that killed 157 people. That catastrophe came just a few months after a Lion Air MAX crash that killed 189 people.
The FAA has said it will only permit the jet to fly again when it is satisfied the model has met all safety concerns. The agency completed test flights on the plane on July 1.
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