Preliminary indications suggest that an identification number reportedly seen on debris found in Reunion bears strong similarities to Boeing maintenance classification codes for 777 trailing-edge structures.
Widespread reports have claimed that the section of debris – which resembles the flaperon, a high-speed aileron on the type – carries a code said to read ‘BB670’ or ‘657BB’. There is no formal confirmation of the code's presence or its composition.
While the debris has yet to be identified, Boeing’s aircraft maintenance manual for the 777 shows that several components of the starboard wing structure are grouped under the identifier ‘670’.
These components include support structures for the flaperon, an inboard control surface which acts as an aileron during cruise.
The Boeing manual also contains the code ‘657BB’, listing it a leading-edge panel which provides access to the flaperon actuator.
Investigators have yet to carry out a full examination of the debris and have not confirmed either the nature of the component or its possible source.
Australia’s government, which has been overseeing a search effort for debris from the missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370, has acknowledged the discovery of the component, simply stating that it “appears to be from an aircraft”.
“Any new evidence will be used to further inform and refine ongoing search efforts [for MH370],” it adds.