Boeing reports wing cracks on 787 Dreamliners in production

Fri Mar 7, 2014 6:55pm EST
 
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By Alwyn Scott and Tim Hepher

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Boeing Co said on Friday that "hairline cracks" had been discovered in the wings of about 40 787 Dreamliners that are in production, marking another setback for the company's newest jet.

The cracks have not been found on planes that are in use by airlines and therefore posed no safety risk, Boeing said, adding the problem also will not alter Boeing's plans to deliver 110 787s this year.

However, Boeing said the cracks, which also occurred on the larger 787-9 model currently undergoing flight tests, could delay by a few weeks the date when airlines can take delivery of their new planes.

The disclosure raised questions about repair costs and a possible minor increase in the weight of the plane, but did not seem to spell major trouble for Boeing, industry experts said.

Wing-maker Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Ltd notified Boeing in February of the problem, which arose after the Japanese company altered its manufacturing process.

Boeing, based in Chicago, said it immediately notified customers of potential delays. It said none of the jets potentially affected by the problem have been delivered.

"We are confident that the condition does not exist in the in-service fleet," Boeing spokesman Doug Alder said.

U.S. regulators did not immediately respond to requests for comment on whether they planned to take action over Boeing's wing crack issue.   Continued...

 
A 787 Dreamliner being built for India Air is pictured at South Carolina Boeing final assembly building in North Charleston, South Carolina December 19, 2013. REUTERS/Randall Hill