Boeing Tells Airlines To Ground Eight Dreamliners


Boeing has told at least three airlines to immediately ground a total of eight Boeing 787 Dreamliners for structural defects that occurred during manufacturing. The company issued a statement late last week that said it knows the aircraft have “two distinct manufacturing issues” that “result in a condition that does not meet our design standards.” The airlines identified so far are Air Canada, United and Singapore Airlines. It’s not clear what the problems are, if any other airlines are affected and how many planes in each fleet are affected. However, the airline didn’t wait for the FAA to ground the aircraft. It contacted the airlines directly.

“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,” Boeing said in a statement. “We notified the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and are conducting a thorough review into the root cause,” the statement said. ”In addition, as part of our assessment, we determined that eight airplanes in the delivered fleet are affected by both issues and therefore must be inspected and repaired prior to continued operation.” The company also didn’t say what those repairs might entail and how long they will take.

Russ Niles
Russ Niles is Editor-in-Chief of AVweb. He has been a pilot for 30 years and joined AVweb 22 years ago. He and his wife Marni live in southern British Columbia where they also operate a small winery.

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  1. A convenient time at least for this inconvenient event. The airline have no shortage of spare airplanes sitting around all over the place.

  2. According to
    The problems were: “These problems concern the rear part of the aeroplanes, The Air Current reports. The junction of certain fuselage sections could be faulty, putting the structure at risk of not withstanding the physical stresses of flight.

    An abnormal spacing could be created between the different joints of the rear structure. In addition, the carbon fibre surface of the eight aircraft would not comply with the manufacturer’s specifications, even though their construction is relatively recent. The discovery of a technical defect on the horizontal stabilizer had already delayed the Dreamliner programme in June 2010, some time before its entry into service.”
    Scary to think my flight before last was on a United 787. Maybe that’s why we got a United newsletter yesterday saying it waving change fees forever?

  3. A friend flies 787’s for AA. He tells me all the models involved are -10’s. AA has -8’s and -9’s. So they aren’t affected. Does anyone know if this is indeed the case?

  4. Using fasteners to join composite parts always is… interesting. Many, many opportunities to get it wrong.

    I heard an informed source say that the fix should “take days, not months.”

    Swapping out shims is relatively straightforward. My concern is what damage – if any – has been done to the adjacent composite structures at/near the mate interface.

    Danger, Will Robinson?

  5. Treating carbon like black aluminum can lead to many problems.
    Sounds like it won’t be a big problem to fix, and at least they figured THIS issue out before any airplanes broke up.