Finite Element simulations and mechanical tests are undertaken to assess the impact of weld joint location on stiffened panel static strength. An upper wing cover panel, with a manufacturing process of welding multiple near-net-shape multi-stiffener extrusions with a final net-shape machining phase is investigated. The 7000 series aluminium alloy extrusions and skin bay longitudinal friction stir butt welds are examined. Geometric imperfections exhibit the greatest influence on panel collapse, thus for static strength design the selection of weld joint location should minimise imperfection generation. Moreover the analysis demonstrates limited impact on panel collapse strength when an optimised welding process is employed.