Structural safety is an evolutionary accomplishment, and attention to detail design features is key to its achievement. A multitude of design considerations is involved in ensuring the structural integrity of Boeing jet transports that have common design concepts validated by extensive analyses, tests, and three decades of service. The active service life of commercial airplanes has increased in recent years as a result of increasing costs for fleet replacements. As airplanes approach their design service objectives, the incidences of fatigue and corrosion may become widespread. Continuing airworthiness of the aging jet fleet requires diligent performance from the manufacturer, the airlines, and airworthiness authorities.
This paper gives an overview of traditional Boeing maintenance-related activities, joint industry/airworthiness authority initiatives, and the anticipated benefits for future generations of commercial airplanes.