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Wing cracks lead to Boeing Dreamliner delays

New York - Boeing's (BA) much-delayed 787 Dreamliner has hit another production snafu. Hairline cracks have been discovered in the wings of some 787s that are being built. The Chicago-based manufacturer says none of the 122 jets already flown by airlines around the world are affected.

"We are confident that the condition does not exist in the in-service fleet," Boeing spokesman Doug Alder said in an email. "We understand the issue, what must be done to correct it and are completing inspections of potentially affected airplanes."

Boeing says roughly 40 airplanes might be affected and that it will take one to two weeks to fix the cracks found on shear ties on a wing rib. The production problem was first reported by The Wall Street Journal.

The Dreamliner has already suffered several setbacks since the first planes were delivered into commercial service. Several of those issues involved the plane's batteries. And another battery problem surfaced in mid-January after gas was discovered coming out of a battery on a plane parked in Tokyo during scheduled maintenance with no passengers aboard. The company said a single battery cell "vented," or released gas.

The incident came a year after a fire in a lithium-ion battery aboard a Japan Airlines 787 parked at Boston's Logan International Airport. That was followed nine days later by another battery incident that forced an emergency landing in Japan by an All Nippon Airways 787.

Those problems prompted the FAA and other authorities to ground all 787s for more than three months. The planes began flying again after Boeing changed the battery system, adding a tougher box to hold the battery and measures to contain any short-circuit or fire.

Boeing said it learned of the latest problem from Japan's Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, the company that's making the Dreamliner's wings.

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