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Fuselage issue prompts Boeing to inspect Dreamliners

February 22, 2012|By W.J. Hennigan
  • All Nippon Airways' Boeing 787 Dreamliner comes in for a landing at Tokyo's Haneda Airport in September.
All Nippon Airways' Boeing 787 Dreamliner comes in for a landing at… (Yoshikazu Tsuno / AFP/Getty…)

Boeing Co. has discovered a flaw in fuselage sections that may affect 55 of its new 787 Dreamliner jets and slow some deliveries, James Albaugh, Boeing’s chief executive officer of commercial airplanes, said Wednesday.

The Dreamliner is an all-new commercial jet that is largely made of lightweight carbon composites rather than sheets of aluminum. The plane made its first passenger flight with All Nippon Airways in October, but it was more than three years late because of design problems and supplier issues.

The latest problem, called “delamination,” occurs when laminated composite materials begin to separate.

“It’s something we can address in a short period of time and it will impact some short-term deliveries,” Albaugh told Bloomberg News and other reporters  Wednesday in Singapore.

The Dreamliner is a twin-aisle aircraft that seats 210 to 290 passengers. Chicago-based Boeing says the jet offers airlines savings because of new fuel-efficient engines and composite structure.

Through January, Boeing has taken 870 orders for the Dreamliner from airlines and aircraft leasing firms around the world. The company has delivered five of the aircraft.

At the round table, Albaugh said that the delamination problem was fixable and that it shouldn’t affect overall deliveries this year.

“In terms of the number of deliveries for the year, it shouldn’t have any impact at all,” he said.

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