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Boeing Faces Another Blow as Dreamliners Are Pulled From Service

By Lou Whiteman – Aug 28, 2020 at 9:59AM

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At least eight planes have been grounded after a structural issue was identified.

Boeing (BA -2.99%) has identified issues in recently built 787 Dreamliners that have led to the planes being grounded, a fresh blow to the company's manufacturing reputation as it tries to rebuild its image following the 737 Max problems.

The company has instructed a number of customers, including United Airlines Holdings, Air Canada, and Singapore Airlines, to pull at least eight planes from service, according to aerospace news site The Air Current. Boeing confirmed to the site that it has "identified two distinct manufacturing issues" in certain 787s that combined "result in a condition that does not meet our design standards."

The report says that Boeing is concerned that the structural issues could make the planes unable to withstand the maximum stress that an aircraft can experience in flight.

A Boeing 787 Dreamliner in flight.

A Boeing 787 Dreamliner. Image source: Boeing.

The Dreamliner is one of Boeing's signature planes. When it debuted in 2011 with its carbon fiber airframe, it was expected to usher in a new generation of lighter, more fuel-efficient aircraft. The plane has had issues in the past, including a grounding in 2013 due to fears of overheating batteries, but this is the first major incident linked to its airframe.

The news comes at a difficult time for Boeing, which is dealing with a sharp decline in new plane demand as airlines retrench due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The company is also working to get its 737 Max, which has been grounded since March 2019 after two fatal accidents, recertified.

The 737 Max debacle raised questions about the safety culture at Boeing, and while the company appears in this case to be proactively taking steps to deal with a potential issue, it can ill afford the grounding of another high-profile model.

Lou Whiteman has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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