The long-range plane had undergone maintenance in China, at Taeco-Taikoo Aircraft Engineering and left the facility Nov. 10. It had stopped at Air France’s hub at Charles de Gaulle airport in Paris for three days, and the absence of the screws went unnoticed until several days later in Boston, the carrier said.
The panel concerned is located between the fuselage and wing and serves to reduce drag by smoothing out edges.
“At no moment was the safety of the flight in question,” said spokeswoman Marina Tymen in a telephone interview from Paris, where Air France is based.
Taeco is based at Gaoqi International airport in Xiamen, and controlled by Hong Kong Aircraft Engineering Co., or Haeco, with a 58.55 percent stake. Boeing Co. (BA), Cathay Pacific Airways Ltd., Japan Airlines Co. and Xiamen Aviation Industry Co. are also shareholders.
“We are in the process of gathering information from our colleagues, which may take some time,” Sharon Lun, a spokeswoman for Haeco, said in an e-mail.
The incident was previously reported by an internal union bulletin.
To contact the reporters on this story: Andrea Rothman in Toulouse, France at firstname.lastname@example.org
To contact the editor responsible for this story: Benedikt Kammel at email@example.com