Another Boeing plane could run into delays — because of Russian sanctions

A mural of a 787 Dreamliner at Boeing's Everett, Washington factory

A mural of a 787 Dreamliner at Boeing’s Everett, Washington factory
Photo: Stephen Brashear (Getty Images)

The 737 Max isn’t the only Boeing plane facing delays these days. The manufacturer’s 787 Dreamliner, a larger plane, is also running into production problems. But instead of scrutiny over a piece falling off mid-flight, The Wall Street Journal reports that the holdup is tied to fallout from United States sanctions against Russia.

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The Journal says the cause for delay involves a temperature-regulating part called a heat exchanger. Boeing had been getting them from a supplier in Russia, but when that country launched a full-scale invasion of Ukraine and trade restrictions were put in place against Russian goods, Boeing started getting them from British and American suppliers. But they haven’t been able to make as many. The heat exchanger is one of “a few key parts” that Boeing has told staff is behind a 787 slowdown in a memo last week. Combined, the 787 and the also-delayed 737 Max make up 98% of the planemaker’s current order backlog.

This isn’t the only issue facing the 787. Last month, ahead of testimony before the Senate, Boeing engineer Sam Salehpour told NBC News that he found issues with the plane’s fuselage. He claimed that problems with how the metal skin is affixed to the rest of the aircraft could cause it to rip apart midair.

“The plane will fall apart at the joints we’re talking about,” he alleged. “Once you fall apart, you’re gonna descend all the way to the ground.”

Boeing’s response to Salehpour’s allegations has been that “claims about the structural integrity of the 787 are inaccurate and do not represent the comprehensive work Boeing has done to ensure the quality and long-term safety of the aircraft.” The company said it is “fully confident” in its products.

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