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Italian prosecutors seize parts for Boeing 787 aircraft

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A Boeing Co. Dreamliner 787 plane with AirEuropa livery moves past the company’s final assembly facility in North Charleston, South Carolina, U.S., on Tuesday, Dec. 6, 2016.

Travis Dove | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Italian prosecutors on Saturday ordered the seizure of components intended for the production of Boeing 787 aircrafts that they said failed to meet the technical specifications sought by the customer.

The titanium and aluminum parts were seized by finance police at a plant of Italian aerospace and defense group Leonardo in Grottaglie, in southern Italy.

The components were produced by two small firms, Processi Speciali and Manufacturing Process Specification (MPS), which were previously sub-suppliers to Leonardo. Both these sub-suppliers are under investigation, said the prosecutors from the southeastern city of Brindisi who ordered the seizure.

The administrator for Processi Speciali declined to comment. The court-appointed administrator for MPS was not immediately available for comment.

Eight unnamed individuals are also under investigation for fraud and for actions threatening the safety of air transport.

The prosecutors said in a statement their investigations suggested the parts “were produced using titanium and aluminum of different quality and origin from those prescribed by the customer and in breach of the relevant technical specifications”.

The prosecutors said the parts were intended “for the production of sections 44 and 46 of the Boeing 787 fuselages”.

Leonardo, which filed a lawsuit on Dec. 7, is the injured party in the criminal and administrative investigations, the statement said.

Leonardo declined to comment.

A spokesperson for Boeing in Italy declined to comment.

In October Boeing said that some 787 Dreamliner parts supplied by MPS were improperly manufactured over the past three years.

At that time, the U.S. aircraft manufacturer said the quality issue did not affect the immediate safety of flights, adding it had notified the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).

Undelivered planes will be reworked, and planes already carrying passengers will go through a review process with Boeing and receive FAA confirmation, Boeing said.

In November three sources told Reuters that prosecutors in southern Italy had opened an investigation into the supply of parts to Boeing by MPS.

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