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Boeing Blames 787 Extinguisher Defect On Supplier

Mon, 08/19/2013 - 10:30am
The Associated Press

DALLAS (AP) — Boeing Co. said Friday that a defect in engine fire extinguishers for its new 787 jets occurred during manufacturing of the bottles at a supplier's facility and the issue was being fixed.

Boeing has told airlines to inspect the extinguishers and given them directions for fixing improperly configured fire-suppression systems.

The company identified the supplier as Kidde, a division of United Technologies Corp.

United Technologies spokesman Daniel Coulom said that an assembly error affected "a limited number" of fire extinguisher bottles. "The error has been corrected, and we are working with Boeing and the airlines to complete the necessary inspections, which we expect will be completed over the next few days," he said.

With the defect, the system would engage the wrong extinguisher if fire started in one of the jet's two engines. An All Nippon Airways 787 returned to the gate Wednesday in Tokyo after a problem was noticed in the system. The airline said the plane took off after a part was replaced.

Boeing spokeswoman Kate Bergman said in a statement Friday that the 787s have redundant systems for extinguishing engine fires and that the problem "does not present an immediate safety of flight issue." She said that incorrectly configured parts weren't acceptable, and the problem "is being addressed promptly."

United Airlines is the only U.S. carrier to operate the 787, which Boeing calls the Dreamliner. United spokeswoman Christen David said Friday that the airline had completed five of seven inspections and found no problems.

The Dreamliner has suffered other glitches, most notably overheating lithium-ion battery systems that caused the planes to be grounded worldwide for three months this year. Boeing redesigned the battery systems to the satisfaction of U.S. aviation regulators.

Shares of Boeing closed up 74 cents at $103.47, while United Technologies shares rose 9 cents to $103.08.

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