Hyderabad, March 13: Boeing Thursday said the cracks found on the wings of 787 Dreamliners in production could delay delivery of 14th airplane to Air India by 10 to 14 days.
The American company, however, clarified that none of the in-service Dreamliners were affected by the cracks.
Dinesh A. Keskar, vice-president, sales, Boeing Commercial Airplanes, told reporters at India Aviation 2014 that director general of civil aviation (DGCA) had some concerns but the same were addressed. “The wing crack is not as serious as was thought. Even with those small cracks, it is not a safety issue,” he said.
Boeing had said last week that hairline cracks were discovered on 40 787 Dreamliners. Wing-maker Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (MHI) had notified Boeing of the problem last month.
“Because we discovered them, we will act and we will fix it,” Keskar said. “The delivery to Indian airlines will be delayed by anywhere between 10 to 14 days depending on the work to be done,” said Keskar, who met the DGCA and other senior officials in Delhi on Monday.
The wing crack issue surfaced even as Boeing was asked to address the concerns over the spate of incidents involving Dreamliners bought by Air India.
Keskar reiterated that there are no safety issues involved. “Boeing is committed to enhance reliability of 787 Air India to enhance the reliability of 787,” he said.
He also denied that DGCA threatened Boeing. “Yes, we were summoned which is a little strong word. We were asked to come and brief. There is nothing wrong in it as DGCA as a regulator needs to take action and tell parliament and the people,” he said.
Keskar said Boeing was trying to build an operation control system in Seattle to monitor Dreamliners worldwide. “Every time a 787 flies we will be continuously monitoring it. We will know what is happening with that airplane, many times even before airlines know what is going on.”
He said the company had placed its people in Mumbai and Delhi and had also stored spare parts to help Air India in case of any requirement.
Claiming that Dreamliner is the safest airplane, he said Boeing delivered 122 787s to 16 airlines worldwide and the airplanes so far flew 13.3 million passengers. He expects the number of airplanes to double by the end of this year.
He claimed that a survey done in India done by Boeing showed that over 58 percent of passengers who flew 787 said it exceeded their expectations while 32 percent said it met their expectations.