Boeing Reports Up To 148 Parts For Its Aircraft Were ‘Improperly Manufactured’
“Although a complete failure of a leading edge slat track would not result in the loss of the aircraft, a risk remains that a failed part could lead to aircraft damage in flight,” the FAA said.
The investigation was jointly conducted by Boeing and the FAA Certificate Management Office (CMO), and Boeing alerted the FAA to the issue. The FAA said it will notify carriers who operate the planes with a mandatory directive to remove any faulty parts in question within 10 days. It has also informed international aviation officials as to the finding.
The FAA reported that 133 NG and 179 Max aircraft worldwide were potentially affected by the issue. Boeing said in a news release it identified only 21 NGs and 20 Maxes likely to contain the parts, but said that it recommended another 112 NGs and 159 Maxes be examined to “ensure a thorough assessment.” Boeing added that it is working to minimise downtime while the replacement parts are installed.
“We are committed to supporting our customers in every way possible as they identify and replace these potentially non-conforming tracks,” Kevin McAllister, president and CEO of Boeing Commercial Aeroplanes, said in a statement.
A spokesperson for American Airlines told Gizmodo by email that the issue did not impact any of the 737 NG aircraft that it operates. Southwest Airlines told CNBC that it plans to “fully comply with any service and regulatory requirements” and will review the NG and Max jets in its own fleet.
After two deadly crashes involving Boeing 737 Max planes killed a combined 346 people, the FAA in March ordered all Max-8 and Max-9 aircraft to be grounded. Both crashes are still being investigated, though it’s suspected that an anti-stall system known as MCAS may have played a significant part in the incidents.
During a press conference last month, acting head of the FAA Daniel Elwell indicated there is currently no set schedule for clearing the jets for commercial flight. Per BBC, Elwell said at the time that if the process “takes a year to find everything we need to give us the confidence to lift the [grounding] order so be it.”