We’ve gotten a number of questions and seen numerous media reports about a “stop-work” order involving one of our major 787 partners.
So I wanted to clarify a few things about what you might be reading or hearing. The reports discuss work conducted at Alenia Aeronautica, the Dreamliner partner that builds the all-composite sections 44 and 46 of the 787 fuselage.
As the 787 program noted today, the issue involves adding relatively simple patches to the fuselage sections of about 25 airplanes. The repairs will not have a significant impact on the 787 program either in cost or schedule.
What we want to emphasize, and what’s not made clear in a lot of the coverage today is that minor fixes such as these are not uncommon at this stage in airplane development and production. This is not a safety-of-flight issue, either.
Boeing determined in June, after detailed inspections, that there were microscopic wrinkles in the skin plies (or layers) of fuselage sections produced by Alenia at its Grottaglie, Italy, facility. The solution is a simple patch at two locations - to restore full structural margins.
By the way, this solution has already been designed and is being installed now at Global Aeronautica in South Carolina. It will be installed on completed fuselage sections in Italy and here in Everett.
This issue would not have caused a delay in first flight, and did not appear on any of the first seven fuselage units, which include the first five flight-test airplanes, as well as the static and fatigue-test airplanes.