By David Shepardson
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration said Sunday it is investigating manufacturing flaws involving some Boeing 787 Dreamliners but said it was too early to say if it will require new inspections.
Boeing said in August airlines operating its 787 Dreamliners had removed eight jets from service as a result of two distinct manufacturing issues in fuselage sections.
The FAA could require inspections covering hundreds of 787 jetliners after production issues at one plant, a person briefed on the matter confirmed. The Wall Street Journal reported the potential inspections earlier, citing an internal government memo and people familiar with the matter.
“The agency continues to engage with Boeing,” the FAA said Sunday. “It is too early to speculate about the nature or extent of any proposed Airworthiness Directives that might arise from the agency’s investigation.”
Boeing said Sunday “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 said some airplanes have shims that are not the proper size, and some airplanes have areas that do not meet skin flatness specifications.
“Individually these issues, while not up to specifications, still meet limit load conditions. When combined in the same location however, they result in a condition that does not meet limit load requirements,” Boeing said.
In the memo dated Aug. 31, Boeing told FAA that it had manufactured some parts at its South Carolina facilities that failed to meet its standards, according to WSJ. (https://on.wsj.com/33li4vp)
Such a safety directive could potentially cover up to about 900 Dreamliners delivered since 2011, the person briefed on the matter confirmed.
It is not clear how many airplanes may have just one of the two reported issues.
(Reporting by Manas Mishra in Bengaluru and David Shepardson in Washington; Editing by Steve Orlofsky and Lisa Shumaker)