Boeing faces new problem of Dreamliner deliveries

NEW YORK • Boeing Co said on Tuesday it has found a new production issue that will impact deliveries of its 787 Dreamliner, in the latest blow to the aviation giant.

“We are taking time to thoroughly inspect completed 787s to ensure that they are free of the issues and meet all engineering specifications prior to delivery,” a company spokesman told AFP.

“We expect these inspections to affect the timing of 787 deliveries in the near-term.”

The new issue came on the heels of Monday’s announcement that the company had 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”.

In the statement on Tuesday the company said there also was an issue with the horizontal stabiliser.

Boeing on Monday said it contacted airlines that operate eight 787s that needed to be removed and repaired before they can return to service.

According to an internal Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) memo seen by the Wall Street Journal (WSJ), 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 WSJ reported on Monday.

The problems with the 787 add to Boeing’s woes at a time when weak commercial air travel demand due to the coronavirus has prompted airlines to delay or cancel orders, worsening the ongoing slump.

Boeing is also still under a microscope over the 737 Max, which has been grounded since March 2019 following two deadly crashes. The FAA completed test flights on the Max in early July, but has still not cleared the plane to return to service.

Boeing reported a US$2.4 billion (RM10.08 billion) loss in the quarter ending June 30 as revenues plunged 25%, and delivered just 20 planes, a fraction of the volume a year earlier.

The company last month reported another round of layoffs on top of 10% job cuts announced earlier this year.

“The market and logistical challenges from Covid-19 continue to affect our commercial airplane orders and deliveries, as we work closely with our customers on their fleet requirements,” the company said in the statement.

Shares of Boeing slumped nearly 6% to US$161.08. — AFP