This is another potential issue in a whole list of issues dating back to 2007 that have plagued the 787. Jon identified the 787s affected as aircraft LN 151 to LN 193 inclusive. Boeing said that some of the 43 aircraft have cracks and some do not while others have yet to be inspected. According to the database that I have compiled, most of the aircraft have been built or are under going final assembly. Some of the wings that are still in Japan are assigned to the later line numbers.
|LN154||China Southern Airlines|
|LN156||Royal Brunei Airlines|
|LN161||LOT Polish Airlines|
|LN166||Royal Brunei Airlines|
|LN169||Air New Zealand|
|LN172||China Southern Airlines|
|LN182||TUI Travel (Arke)|
|LN191||TUI Travel (Thomson)|
According to the Journal, Mitsubishi changed the way it manufactured the wings. However this process creates a problem which "stems from fasteners used to connect aluminum shear ties on the wing ribs to the carbon fiber composite wing panel, according to two people familiar with the situation."
"The fasteners were over-tightened without the use of manufacturing fillers, compressing a gap in the structure and in some cases caused hairline cracks of less than an inch. If left unchecked can cause unintended stress on the jet's structure and could lead to further damage. 'We understand the issue, what must be done to correct it, and are completing inspections of potentially affected airplanes. We are addressing affected airplanes as required,' said the Boeing spokesman."
Of the 43 aircraft that are affected, 7 have flown production flights and 18 have completed final assembly. There are a further 14 undergoing final assembly both at Everett and North Charleston. Another 11 are waiting to enter final assembly. These 11 all should enter the final assembly process over the next 5 weeks or so.
It is unclear what impact this would have on the delivery schedule but Boeing is saying that deliveries should be unaffected. Furthermore it is unclear what changes Mitsubishi or Boeing will implement to ensure that these crack don't occur again.