Boeing faces another setback with the 787 Dreamliner due to a newly discovered production flaw. In a statement issued on June 6, 2023, the company warned that this could potentially delay the delivery of 90 jets currently in its inventory.
The problem has been traced back to an improperly-sized fitting part installed on the horizontal stabilizer, a critical component responsible for maintaining the aircraft’s longitudinal balance during flight. Though the faulty part was installed at a Boeing production facility in Salt Lake City, Utah, the fitting was produced by a supplier.
Although this production defect does not pose an immediate flight safety threat, Boeing has suspended the distribution of suspect 787s. The company will need to inspect all 90 Dreamliners currently ready for delivery, with each aircraft expected to require around two weeks for rectification.
At present, it’s not clear what caused this problem or how many jets will need to be fixed. Moreover, the company has not yet been able to determine how long this issue has been present in the production process.
However, The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has confirmed that there is no immediate safety concern for 787s already in service. Nevertheless, the FAA stated that it would not issue any new airworthiness certificates for the Dreamliners until the matter is satisfactorily addressed.
Despite this setback, Boeing has not halted 787 production, which recently increased from three to four jets per month. The company still believes it can deliver 70 to 80 Dreamliners during 2023.
This adds to a series of delays for the widebody plane, which already faced production issues at multiple junctures in 2020 and 2021. Additionally, in February 2023 another Dreamliner delivery stoppage occurred, after Boeing found a data analysis error unrelated to the shimming problem.