Boeing has officially resumed deliveries of its embattled 737 MAX after the FAA finally approved a fix for the multiple electrical issues located in a quarter of the MAX fleet.
Boeing announced in April that it would once again halt deliveries on the 737 MAX, just five months after its near-two-year delivery hiatus during the jet’s recertification, in light of a number of electrical faults that had been located in certain jets.
The recipient of its latest MAX delivery has not yet been made public, however sources close to the matter confirmed to Reuters that the first delivery since Boeing announced the temporary halt to deliveries has now taken place.
More information is expected to come to light soon, if not by the time Boeing releases its May order and deliveries report next month.
Last week, Boeing and the US Federal Aviation Administration finally settled on a fix for the ongoing electrical faults, which saw nearly a quarter of all MAX jets grounded around the globe.
The ultimate fix for the problem was delayed as the FAA continued to probe Boeing on the extent of the issue before giving the planemaker the green light to complete repairs and return planes to the sky.
Boeing said it has issued two bulletins to airlines and operators of the 106 affected MAX aircraft that contain instructions on how to rectify the electrical problems.
“After gaining final approvals from the FAA, we have issued service bulletins for the affected fleet,” Boeing told the media at the time. “We are also completing the work as we prepare to resume deliveries.”
According to FAA administrator Steve Dickson, the agreed-upon repair is a “pretty straightforward fix”.
The news will come as a welcome relief to airlines forced to keep their MAX fleets grounded, which were expecting information on a solution to the electrical issues at least a week ago.
Electrical flaws were initially found in a number of MAX cockpits’ backup power control systems in mid-April.
The electrical issue involves a lapse in the grounding capabilities of some electrical circuits located in the cockpit. Grounding capabilities are vital in order to maintain a user’s safety in the event of a surge of voltage that could otherwise result in a shock or electrocution.
The issue was labelled by Boeing as being caused by a “production issue”, and was limited to jets delivered in the months after the FAA lifted its grounding ban on the MAX.
However, the FAA later stated that “subsequent analysis and testing showed the issue could involve additional systems”, including the standby power control unit, a circuit breaker panel and main instrument panel.
In its service bulletin, Boeing proposed adding a bonding strap or cable that workers screw onto two different surfaces, creating a grounding path for the affected electrical circuit, two of the sources said.
Sources also specified that the electrical grounding problems that have been located to date came as a result of Boeing changing a manufacturing method, as it worked to increase the speed at which it can produce the jet.
They said that the change made, which sparked the issues, pertained to a hole-drilling process.
Boeing initially told airlines that rectifying the issue could take as little as a few hours, or up to a few days, per jet.