In recent weeks, Boeing has self-reported difficulties it discovered in quality control with the Boeing 787. Incredibly, the fourth area of concern has now been identified, involving shims in the vertical stabilizer, with a potential impact on about 900 aircraft. This is in addition to previously reported problems involving shims in two key structural areas that grounded 8 aircraft because of possibly reduced structural strength, and could potentially impact close to 900 more if having one of the two flaws requires repairs. A third area on the horizontal stabilizer was related to the force used in clamping structural components. There appears to be a lot of rework to be done on numerous 787s that have been delivered.
It is laudable that Boeing is self-reporting these problems as they are discovered, and we welcome the additional transparency from the company with both its regulators and customers. Coming out of the MAX crisis, in which the company lost considerable credibility, improved transparency would be a welcome change. It would also represent a cultural reversal for Boeing, particularly when contrasted with Boeing’s behavior on the MAX.