“Dreamliner” and the yellow of the pieces produced in Brindisi. The 787 is a dream that is becoming a nightmare for both Boeing and Leonardo

The “787 affair” that has been eaten in the last month is complicated half a billion of capitalization of Leonardo group, 30% controlled by the Treasury. Leonardo is one of the key suppliers of the US giant of the skies Boeing for which it produces also sections of the fuselage (number 44 and number 46) and the horizontal stabilizers of the Dreamliner. The 787 “Dreamliner” is no ordinary aircraft. Technologically it is the spearhead of civil aviation, manufactured with innovative materials that reduce its weight and therefore consumption. There is much less aluminum which is replaced by special fibers, especially carbon. Leonardo, builds on the whole 14% of the aircraft, in the two sites of Grottaglie and Foggia.

The plane has encountered a series of problems for some time and has been under close observation for some time Few (Federal aviation administration, the US agency for flight safety). Critical issues that do not concern only some of the components supplied by Leonardo. According to a new document problems of the FAA reported by the Seattle Times would also have emerged, for example carbon fiber contamination made by the Japanese Mitsubishi Heavy Insustires as well as manufacturing defects at junction points near the bow and stern doors that would call into question Leonardo again.

None of these elements constitute an “immediate security problem” but they are factors that could impose a shortened maintenance cycle. The US Senate transportation committee asked the FAA to view the results of the new investigations on 787 wondering if the testing program in place is sufficient to handle the problems the aircraft is presenting. In turn, the FAA has raised doubts on the methods used by Boeing in conducting its supplier inspections.

Waiting to resolve the issue are about a hundred “dreamliners” blocked in the factories and warehouses of Boeing for an equivalent value of 20 billion dollars (€ 17.7 billion). The cost caused by the 787 problems would now be over a billion dollars. The planes that mount components to be overhauled would be circa 450 and, according to what the Wall Street Journal deliveries of 787s would be suspended at least until next February / March. Boeing did not comment on the indiscretion.

Last 14 October the Leonardo group he lost 300 million euros of capitalization in less than an hour. The sales started as soon as the Bloomberg agency released the news that some of the components of the plane did not comply with Boeing’s requests. These would be elements of conjunction between parts of the fuselage which would not contain a quantity of titanium infer what is required. In addition to image damage, it could pave the way for compensation claims. The same 14 October Leonardo released a note to explain that the parts under examination come from the subcontractor Manufacturing Processes Specification (Mps).

“With regard to the news on the detection of defects in the components produced for the B787, Leonardo makes it known that reference is made to the subcontractor Manufacturing Processes Specification Srl also qualified by Boeing. The aforementioned subcontractor is under investigation by the judiciary for which Leonardo results injured part and therefore will not assume any potential burdens about. Furthermore, Manufacturing Processes Specification Srl is no longer Leonardo’s supplier ”, reads the note from the group led by Alessandro Profumo and 30% owned by the Ministry of the Treasury. However, the clarification did not reassure the markets given that the company’s stock has never recovered its previous values. Indeed, in the last week, after the news on further slowdowns of the 787 program, it dropped to 6.2 euros, one euro less than at the end of last 13 October.

Mps (formerly special processes) is one a small company in the Brindisi area that has a turnover of around 3.3 million euros. It is reborn from the ashes of the Special Processes, bankrupt in 2018. But this step ended up under the lens of the magistrates. The owner of Mps Antonio Ingrosso, together with some family members, ended up under investigation in Brindisi for fraudulent bankruptcy. House arrest was ordered for the defendants. Ingrosso allegedly used company funds for personal purposes, including the purchase of works of art and holidays. A behavior repeated over the years, first against the bankrupt Processi Speciali srl and then against Mps. Ingrosso would also have managed to obtain a disbursement of 500 thousand euros from the Ministry of Economic Development by simulating a sale of machinery. On the evening of October 14, the lawyer of Mps Francesca Conte he replied to Leonardo by explaining that these are “Accusations as serious as they are absolutely unfounded. It is not clear how it was possible to spread such news without any proof, causing an unjustified and unjustifiable media earthquake. This affair will be the subject of due investigation in the appropriate offices with all legal consequences “

Having specified that no sentence has yet been issued, the picture that emerges from the papers is rather bleak. It is natural to wonder how it is possible that parts, albeit “minor”, ​​of one of the most technologically advanced aircraft in the world come from here. In one of the wiretaps, a representative of Leonardo says: “I sent him an audit but it was very soft because … he went there he didn’t understand shit … he did a bland audit …”. In any case, the supplies of Mps to Leonardo are completely ceased in April 2020.

The Brindisi company also ends up below “Quality survey” by the two clients. According to what was reconstructed by Ilfattoquotidiano.it from August 2020 to May 2021 Leonardo and Boeing technicians went to the Mps plants. Sources close to the Brindisi company say that during the investigation all parties were controlled and accepted by both Leonardo and Boeing, adding that the responsibility of the order falls on Leonardo as the MPS did not have the certification Part21 for direct construction of flight parts. In these cases, as clearly indicated by the specification, the responsibility should there be an error it is still by Leonardo also thanks to the collaboration of Mps to solve problems.

Asked by ilFattoquotidiano.it Boeing Italia did not want to provide any additional information with respect to the official note of the group explaining “We have received a notification from one of our suppliers regarding to some parts of the 787 that were improperly produced. While our investigation is ongoing, we have determined that this is the case does not represent an immediate concern for flight safety of the fleet in service. The aircraft still to be delivered will be reworked, if necessary, before delivery to the customer. Any potential actions on the fleet will be determined through our regular review process and confirmed with the FAA. Boeing hasn’t confirmed nor denied to have independently certified Mps and not even that the Brindisi-based company supplies or has directly supplied components for other aircraft, outside the 787 program managed by Leonardo.

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