Boeing checks 787 Dreamliners for wing cracks

Boeing 787 Dreamliner Boeing said the problem did not exist in the in-service fleet

Boeing is checking Dreamliner planes being produced in the US for potential "hairline cracks" in their wings.

The move came after Japanese supplier Mitsubishi Heavy Industries warned Boeing that a change in its manufacturing process may cause cracks.

Boeing said the issue may affect nearly 40 planes and there may be "some delays in deliveries".

However, it added that it was confident "the issue does not exist in the in-service fleet".

"The affected areas are very small and the time required to address the issue will vary between one and two weeks," the company said in a statement.

"There may be some delays in deliveries, but we expect no impact to 2014 delivery guidance."

The firm's shares fell 1% in after-hours trading on the news.

Safety concerns

The 787 Dreamliner is considered to be one of the most advanced planes in the industry. However, the jet has been hit by a series of issues.

Last year, its entire fleet in operation was grounded by regulators amid safety concerns.

If followed a fire that broke out in one of Japan Airlines' 787 Dreamliners, and a battery fault which forced an All Nippon Airways (ANA) flight to make an emergency landing.

The planes have since been given the permission to fly again and Boeing has redesigned the battery system. However, the precise cause of the problem was never conclusively proved.

The plane has also suffered other issues over the past few months.

In July last year, a fire broke out on a 787 jet operated by Ethiopian Airlines while it was parked at London's Heathrow Airport. It was traced to the upper rear part of the plane where a locator transmitter is placed.

In August, ANA said it had found damage to the battery wiring on two 787 locator transmitters during checks.

US carrier United Airlines also found a pinched wire during an inspection of one of its six 787s.

Later in the year, one of the two engine-protecting anti-ice systems failed on a jet operated by Japan Airlines.

Despite these issues, the plane continues to remain popular and Boeing has received orders for more than 1,000 jets since its launch.

The aircraft-maker has forecast sales of 3,300 planes by the year 2030.

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