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The Wall Street Journal: Boeing deals with new defect on 787 Dreamliner amid production problems

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Boeing Co. is dealing with a new defect on its 787 Dreamliner, the latest in a series of production slip-ups that have delayed aircraft deliveries and drawn increased U.S. government scrutiny.

The new problem involves certain titanium parts that are weaker than they should be on 787s built over the past three years, people familiar with the matter said. The discovery is among other Dreamliner snafus that have left Boeing stuck with more than $25 billion of the jets in its inventory.

The finding is fresh evidence that the plane maker is still trying to fix its manufacturing operations, despite a nearly two-year push by Chief Executive David Calhoun to restore Boeing’s
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reputation for building quality jets. In addition, the Federal Aviation Administration is investigating Boeing’s quality controls. The company acknowledged it hasn’t solved the problem of junk left over from the production process, such as two empty tequila mini-bottles found in September on a new Air Force One jet under construction.

A Boeing spokesman said the company is making progress on improving production and is raising its own standards, despite operational interruptions. “We have strengthened our focus on quality and constantly encourage all members of our team and supply chain to raise any issues that need attention,” the spokesman said. “When issues are raised, that is an indication that these efforts are working.”

An expanded version of this report appears on WSJ.com.

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