Boeing 777 and 787 Dreamliners use Kobe Steel’s falsely certified products

Boeing, the world’s biggest maker of passenger jets, is investigating how the false certification will impact its aircrafts. As for aluminum composites, although Boeing does not source them directly from Kobe Steels, its key Japanese suppliers, including Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, Subaru Corp, Kawasaki Heavy Industries however, do.

As per a source with knowledge of the matter, Boeing Co, has used Kobe Steel’s products that were falsely certified by the Japanese company.

Boeing does not consider the matter as a safety issue, stressed the source.

Nevertheless, the disclosure is likely to raise compensation costs for Kobe Steel, which is currently battling a widening scandal over the false certification of the strength and durability of its components which it supplied to hundreds of companies worldwide.

Boeing, the world’s biggest maker of passenger jets, is currently surveying the extent of the potential damage, if any, and will share its findings with its airline clients, said a source with the knowledge of the investigation.

Sources have preferred the cover of anonymity given the sensitivity of the issue.

Even if the falsely certified parts do not trigger any safety concerns, given the intense public scrutiny that airlines typically operate under, it is likely that they may want to replace the suspected parts rather than face any public backlash which can rapidly erode their goodwill and brand following over concerns on safety.

A large scale replacement program of these components, even during scheduled maintenance of the aircrafts, could prove to be costly for Kobe Steel, if it has to foot the bill.

On Thursday, Kobe Steel’s CEO Hiroya Kawasaki, said his company’s credibility was at “zero.”

There is every possibility that the falsification of the data can be traced back to a decade, said Hiroya Kawasaki; however the company does not expect to see recalls of cars or airplanes, for now.

Toyota Motor Corp and General Motors have also said they are checking whether the issue impacts their cars. The duo are part of 200 companies who have received falsely certified parts from Kobe Steel.

Although Boeing does not buy its aluminum composites for its aircrafts from Kobe Steel, its key Japanese suppliers, including Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, Subaru Corp, Kawasaki Heavy Industries however, do.

These Japanese companies are key parts of Boeing’s global supply chain, building one fifth of its 777 jetliner and 35 percent of its carbon composite 787 Dreamliner.

“Boeing has been working closely and continuously with our suppliers since being notified of the issue to ensure timely and appropriate action,” said Boeing in a statement earlier this week following Kobe Steel’s devastating revelation over the weekend.

“Nothing in our review to date leads us to conclude that this issue presents a safety concern”.


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