US aviation authority investigating Boeing 787 manufacturing flaws

A Boeing 787 of Japan Airlines (JAL) at the gate at San Francisco International Airport (SFO) on July 30, 2020: Boeing has repor
A Boeing 787 of Japan Airlines (JAL) at the gate at San Francisco International Airport (SFO) on July 30, 2020: Boeing has reported that parts in eight of its 787 airplanes do not meet its production standards

The US aviation authority is investigating manufacturing flaws in the Boeing 787 after the company reported that certain plane parts did not conform to its production standards.

Boeing determined that eight planes affected by the issue needed to be inspected and repaired before they could be returned to service.

"We immediately contacted the airlines that operate the eight affected planes to notify them of the situation, and the airplanes have been temporarily removed from service until they can be repaired," the US aviation giant said Monday in a statement.

"The rest of the in-service fleet has been determined to meet limit load capability, and we are inspecting production airplanes to ensure any issues are addressed prior to delivery," Boeing added.

According to an internal Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) memo seen by the Wall Street Journal, the regulator could be looking at quality control errors that may have potentially lasted for 10 years.

The investigation could lead to enhanced inspections of hundreds of planes, the Journal reported Monday.

"It is too early to speculate about the nature or extent of any proposed Airworthiness Directives that might arise from the agency's investigation," the FAA told AFP.

Boeing identified two issues with the manufacture of the join in a portion of the fuselage in some 787s that, "in combination, result in a condition that does not meet our design standards.

"We notified the FAA and are conducting a thorough review into the root cause," Boeing said.

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

Order cancellations are piling up for the flagship 737 MAX aircraft, which has been grounded for more than a year after two fatal accidents that killed 346 people and revelations that have tarnished the company's image.

Appetite for the 787, its latest revolutionary model, has diminished considerably.

Hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic, Boeing, often viewed as a symbol of the United States' power, had to turn to the bond market during the spring to raise $25 billion to finance its operations.

The manufacturer claims 17,000 suppliers in the US and 2.5 million direct and indirect jobs.

© 2020 AFP

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