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Boeing finds new defect in continuing struggle to produce Dreamliner 787

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Boeing Co said on Thursday that some titanium 787 Dreamliner parts were improperly manufactured over the past three years, the latest in a series of problems to plague the wide-body aircraft.

The quality issue does not affect the immediate safety of flights, the company said, adding it had notified the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). Boeing is working to determine how many planes contain the defective part.

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Boeing said the parts were provided by Leonardo SpA , which bought the items from Italy-based Manufacturing Processes Specification (MPS). MPS is no longer a supplier to Leonardo, Leonardo confirmed. Shares in Italy’s Leonardo extended losses and closed down 7 percent. Boeing shares closed down 2 percent.

Leonardo said in a statement the issues are ascribed to MPS. Leonardo said that MPS “is under scrutiny by prosecutors therefore Leonardo is (an) injured party and will not bear any potential costs associated with this issue.”

Italian prosecutors could not be reached for comment late Thursday.

MPS did not immediately respond to a request for comment. MPS is listed in Italy and some industry directives as Manufacturing Process Specification.

The parts include fittings that help secure the floor beam in one fuselage section, as well as other fittings, spacers, brackets, and clips within other assemblies.

Undelivered planes will be reworked, and planes already carrying passengers will go through a review process with Boeing and receive FAA confirmation.

The defect was found as the planemaker grapples with other problems in its 787 that have caused it to cut production and halt deliveries since May.

Problems started in September 2020 when the FAA said it was investigating manufacturing flaws. Airlines using that model removed eight jets from service.

Boeing was able to resume deliveries of the 787s in March after a five-month hiatus - only to halt them again in May after the FAA raised concerns about its proposed inspection method.

In July, the FAA said some Dreamliners had a manufacturing quality issue near the nose of the plane that must be fixed before Boeing can deliver to customers.

Earlier this month Leonardo’s chief executive said Boeing was expected to release an updated production plan for its 787.

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