Boeing will pay at least $17 million in penalties and has agreed to take corrective steps in its production processes under a settlement reached with US regulator the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) relating to issues on its 737 Max and NG aircraft.
The FAA says it found that the manufacturer had installed instruments on 759 Boeing 737 Max and NG aircraft containing sensors that were not approved for that equipment.
The regulator had in March 2020 first proposed a fine of almost $20 million after alleging that Boeing had between June 2015 and April 2019 installed Rockwell Collins Head-up Guidance Systems on its narrowbodies that were equipped with sensors that were not approved as being compatible with those guidance systems.
It also found Boeing had submitted 178 Boeing 737 Max aircraft for airworthiness certification when the aircraft potentially had nonconforming slat tracks installed; and improperly marked those slat tracks. The non-confirming slats issue was initially raised in January 2020 when the FAA proposed a $5.4 million penalty and relates to the period between June 2018 and March 2019.
”We take our responsibility to meet all regulatory requirements very seriously,” Boeing says on 27 May. “These penalties stem from issues that were raised in 2019 and which we fully resolved in our production system and supply chain. We continue to devote time and resources to improving safety and quality performance across our operations. This includes ensuring that our teammates understand all requirements and comply with them in every way.”
As well as paying the financial penalty, which could rise if conditions are not met, Boeing has undertaken to carry out a number of corrective actions in relation to the issues.
These include “strengthening procedures” to ensure it does not install any parts that do not conform to their approved design and performing safety risk management analysis to determine whether its supply-chain oversight processes are ”appropriate” and whether the company is ready to safely increase the Boeing 737 production rate.
FAA administrator Steve Dickson says: ”Keeping the flying public safe is our primary responsibility. That is not negotiable, and the FAA will hold Boeing and the aviation industry accountable to keep our skies safe.”
Updates on 27 May to include a statement from Boeing.