Non-Conforming 787 Titanium Parts Flagged By Leonardo

Boeing 787 Charleston facility
Boeing 787 Charleston facility
Credit: Sean Broderick/AWST

Titanium parts made for Boeing 787s by a sub-tier vendor and supplied via Leonardo do not conform to Boeing’s design specifications and must be re-worked, the manufacturer said Oct. 14.

The parts include floor beam-to-frame fittings, spacers, brackets, and clips, sources with knowledge of the situation told Aviation Week. All of them came from Manufacturing Processes Specification S.r.l. (MPS)—an Italy-based vendor contracted by Leonardo which supplies 787 center fuselage sections 44 and 46 as well as some horizontal stabilizer components. Leonardo discovered the issue and informed Boeing.

“We received a notice from one of our suppliers about certain 787 parts that were improperly manufactured,” Boeing said in a statement. “While our investigation is ongoing, we have determined that this does not present an immediate safety of flight concern for the active in-service fleet. Yet-to-deliver airplanes will be reworked as necessary prior to customer delivery. Any potential fleet actions will be determined through our normal review process and confirmed with the FAA.”

Leonardo confirmed the issue, adding that MPS is no longer one of its suppliers.

“Leonardo informs that issues are to be ascribed to Manufacturing Processes Specification S.r.l. (MPS), one of the subsuppliers qualified also by Boeing,” the company said. “The subsupplier is under scrutiny by prosecutors, therefore Leonardo is injured party and will not bear any potential costs associated with this issue.”

It was not immediately clear if Leonardo supplied other non-conforming MPS parts to other customers. 

An inquiry to Airbus was not immediately returned.

Sean Broderick

Senior Air Transport & Safety Editor Sean Broderick covers aviation safety, MRO, and the airline business from Aviation Week Network's Washington, D.C. office.