NEW YORK: Boeing Co has uncovered an additional manufacturing problem with its 787 Dreamliner, according to a person familiar with the matter, as it works with US regulators to restart deliveries of the beleaguered jet.
“The issue pertains to wrinkling in the forward pressure bulkhead in the jets’ noses,” the person said, asking not to be identified because the details are private.
“The defect isn’t considered a threat to flight safety,” the person said.
Boeing has halted deliveries of the advanced aircraft since early May while regulators review how it determines where to inspect for tiny imperfections that have cropped up on the interior lining of the jets’ carbon-fibre airframes.
With about 100 Dreamliners sitting in storage, restarting deliveries is crucial to the company’s turnaround after it burned through about $20 billion last year.
The Federal Aviation Administration said in a statement that was aware of a manufacturing quality issue near the nose on certain 787 Dreamliners in the company’s inventory of undelivered airplanes.
“This issue was discovered as part of the ongoing system-wide inspection of Boeing’s 787 shimming processes required by the FAA,” according to the statement.
“Although the issue poses no immediate threat to flight safety, Boeing has committed to fix these airplanes before resuming deliveries. Based on data, the FAA will determine whether similar modifications should be made on 787s already in commercial service.”
Last month at a conference, Boeing chief executive Dave Calhoun said the 787s were “performing beautifully.”
But he added “the FAA rightfully wants to know more about the analytics and process controls that we put in place, which are different than the ones that we had previously, so that we could be more perfect.”
Calhoun said he hoped the FAA’s review of Boeing’s approach was “measured in months and not longer than the calendar year.”