Boeing admits nutplate problem on 747, 767, 777

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Boeing today confirms that three widebodies - the 747, 767 and 777 - face new production disruptions caused by the same quality control issue already plaguing the 737 programme.

Two weeks ago, the airframer disclosed that about 3,000 to 5,000 nut plate assemblies on each 737 lack a required cadmium coating and must be replaced.

The same missing coating also affects about half that number of nutplate assemblies on a 777 and "hundreds" within each 747 and 767, the Boeing spokeswoman says.

The problem has been traced to one of three suppliers to Spirit AeroSystems, which has been supplying the non-conforming parts since August 2007. The lack of the cadmium coating makes the parts susceptible to corrosive damage.

To comply with the US FAA standards, each of the errant nutplates must be replaced, although the problem is not a flight safety issue.

The impact of the disruption on the production schedule is still being evaluated, the spokeswoman says. Any delays are being factored into the overall impact of the two-month strike by the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers (IAM), which is also still being evaluated.