Alas, poor Boeing (NYSE:BA), I knew it well.

Too well. Earlier this month, I wrote a piece examining Boeing's credibility. Taking a microscope to Boeing's promise of an update on 787 "Dreamliner" deliveries, I predicted that when we did get the news, we wouldn't like what we heard.

Well, we've got the news. And -- surprise! -- investors didn't like it.

A credibility gap
Investors sold off Boeing shares to the tune of about 4% Friday when the company admitted that "wrinkles" in the "skin" of its new airliner are causing another production headache. Apparently, the problem originates with European aerospace giant Alenia, one link in a supply chain stretching from Honeywell (NYSE:HON) to United Tech (NYSE:UTX) to Spirit AeroSystems (NYSE:SPR), providing parts for the new airliner. Alenia's job is to build fuselage sections for the 787, and so far it's built upwards of two dozen such sections. At least 23 of the units, however, contained "microscopic wrinkles in the skin plies" just aft of the aircraft wings.

And Alenia's stumped -- even after cutting up two of the defective sections to perform an autopsy. After taking a good hard look, Alenia concluded that it cannot meet Boeing's stringent technical requirements so as to fix this problem once and for all. Boeing was not amused, and on June 23 ordered Alenia to halt production and try harder.

Hmm. June 23 you say?
Right. June 23. The same day that Boeing informed investors of a completely different problem with the aircraft's wings, canceled its first test flight, and brushed off impatient buyers like Delta (NYSE:DAL), Continental (NYSE:CAL), and AMR (NYSE:AMR), wondering when they'd get their planes, with a "we'll get back to you." Yet not only did Boeing not inform investors about the wrinkling problem then. It also failed to mention it when reporting earnings in July -- or since.

And this, Fools, is Boeing's real problem. It's not the added cost of performing cosmetic surgery to remove the 787's "wrinkles," nor even the new delay this will entail. It's the fact that after more than two years of delays, omissions, and flat-out obfuscation, that can no longer trust Boeing to play it straight with us.

Foolish takeaway
Experts warn us these wrinkles could cause the 787's fiber skin to "separate and tear." But while a tear in the airframe worries me, I'm more worried about the gaping hole in Boeing's credibility.

The 787 isn't Boeing's only problem:

Fool contributor Rich Smith owns shares of Boeing. Spirit AeroSystems Holdings is a Motley Fool Hidden Gems selection. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.