The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration is considering enhanced inspections of hundreds of Boeing 787 Dreamliner jets after quality-control lapses were discovered in the production process.
The Latest Boeing 787 Quality Control Problems
Boeing alerted the FAA in late August that it had discovered sections of the 787’s rear fuselage produced in its South Carolina facility failed to meet internal design and manufacturing standards.
A forthcoming safety directive from the FAA could cover up to 900 of the 1,000 Dreamliners delivered over the last nine years. Boeing and the FAA are continuing a joint review and Boeing maintains that the self-confessed defect does not pose an “immediate safety threat” by itself.
This news is linked but distinct from Boeing’s order to ground eight 787s in late August due to immediate safety concerns. That problem coupled with the wider design flaw resulted in those aircraft not meeting the “requirements for safe flight and landing.” While Boeing never identified which airlines were impacted by that that order, the following airlines have volunteered that at least one of their Dreamliners was affected:
- Air Canada
- Air Europa
- All Nipon Airways
- Norwegian Air
- Singapore Airlines
- United Airlines
A Boeing spokesperson told the Wall Street Journal:
“We are taking the appropriate steps to resolve these issues and prevent them from happening again.”
Boeing added that it is closely inspecting new aircraft prior to delivery to ensure these two design defects do not exist.
Meanwhile, the FAA only confirmed it “is investigating manufacturing flaws affecting certain Boeing 787 jetliners.” It also added that “it is too early to speculate about the nature or extent of any proposed airworthiness directives that might arise.”
While it is laudable that Boeing identified these problems on its own and self-reported them, the latest problem with the 787 program further undermines confidence in the ability of Boeing to overcome the skepticism that continue to loom over its 737 MAX program.
image: Jetstar Airways