If the news about the Dreamliner screw up this morning (in today’s Crikey) isn’t bad enough to warrant being sneaked out on US election day, there is also a further problem with its single aisle 737 assembly process in Seattle.
One of assembly lines was kept partially open during the recent 57 day machinists strike by replacement management workers. It has just been closed, while urgent steps are taken to rectify unspecified errors before the delayed jets are released to their customers.
This news coincides, today of all days, with reports that Boeing is warning airlines to check that parts of the engine mounts in more than 1000 of the Next Generation series of the 737 have not been installed back-to-front. There is a risk that faulty installation could in extreme circumstances cause the engine to separate from the wing. This warning originally circulated to carriers concerning the risks of this mistake being made during maintenance involving engine changes or removals. The new warning concedes that the same error has been detected in two aircraft where the engines have not yet been overhauled, meaning they were incorrectly assembled in Seattle. Neither Qantas nor Virgin Blue have yet indicated if any of their 737 NG jets were affected, but the Federal Aviation Administration in the US says the issue is not an immediate or critical threat to safety rather than one that needs to be dealt with to prevent a future failure.