Amid preparations to finalize the 737 MAX 8's return, Boeing has ordered that eight recently produced 787-10s be immediately taken out of service due to two "distinct manufacturing issues." The 78X is produced at Boeing's facitility in Charleston, South Carolina, and the FAA says that U.S. regulators are invesigating lapses in quality control.
"The two issues appear to be 'nonconforming' rear fuselage sections, as well as how the company produces shims for the 787 at Charleston." Shims are thin pieces of material that used to fill in small gaps or spaces. Reports indicate that the issues only pertain to aircraft built in Charleston in 2019, but Boeing is assessing the entire 787 fleet.
Boeing had this to say about the matter: "We found that some airplanes have shims installed that are not the proper size, and some airplanes have areas that do not meet our skin flatness specifications per Engineering. 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. We immediately contacted the airlines that operate the eight affected airplanes to notify them of the situation, and the airplanes have been temporarily removed from service until they can be repaired."
ANA, one of the affected carriers, made this statement: "We have been notified of the situation by our valued partner Boeing and immediately removed the one aircraft dedicated to international flights from service...As the launch partner of the 787 and operator of the largest 787 fleet in the world, we will work with our partners and regulators to develop a solution. While we are still assessing the situation, with the reduced market demand for global destinations, this aircraft doesn't need to be returned to service immediately."
Vietnam Airlines has four 787-10s, three of which were built in 2019. When asked about the situation, the airline said "We contacted Boeing regarding this matter. Boeing confirmed that the issues were found on 8 airplanes which initiated a continued operational safety program and safety determination. None of these planes is within Vietnam Airlines." Their entire 787 fleet is still in service, a trustworthy but potentially risky move.
The other airlines reportedly asked to ground their aircraft are Singapore Airlines, United Airlines, and Air Canada. A full investigation is being launched.
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