Boeing 787 Dreamliner issue more widespread than previously thought

EVERETT, WA - FEBRUARY 14: Boeing 777 passenger planes in various stages of completion sit on one of the assembly lines February 14, 2011 at the company's factory in Everett, Washington.  The new plane features quieter, more fuel efficient engines, more seating and a redesigned interior. (Photo by Stephen Brashear/Getty Images)
Photo credit: Getty

Boeing quality inspections related to previously disclosed production flaws in its 787 Dreamliner found the same issue in other parts of the jet, the company said on Tuesday (NZ Time).

Boeing said earlier this month that inspections for 787 production flaws were taking longer than expected, hampering the U.S. planemaker’s ability to deliver jets to customers through December.

On Monday, Boeing added that inspections of assembled 787 aircraft found that some areas where fuselage segments are joined were potentially not as smooth as required. The engineering specifications at issue are roughly equivalent to the width of a human hair, the company noted.

Boeing also said the problem does not pose an imminent safety hazard.

The specific reason behind the broader quality-control checks, and the fact that they now cover areas where large sections of the fuselage come together rather than just certain sections around the jet’s tail, was earlier reported by the Wall Street Journal.

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) said in a statement on Monday that it "continuously engages with Boeing through established Continued Operational Safety and manufacturing oversight processes to appropriately address any issues that might arise."

An FAA official told Reuters "none of the issues raised recently are considered to be immediate safety concerns, adding that it "takes these quality concerns seriously and continues to be involved in the discussions about any mitigations."

The bad news for Boeing came at the same time its rival Airbus announced it would slow production of its Airbus A320 family of jets to 40 a month, with expectations that would increase to 47 a month in July 2021.