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Boeing to pay $17m fines over 737 MAX and NG production issues

written by Hannah Dowling | May 28, 2021

Boeing 737NG

Boeing has been ordered to pay $17 million in penalties in a settlement made with the US Federal Aviation Administration over equipment it installed in nearly 800 737 MAX and NG aircraft that were not certified and approved by the regulator.

The penalties are likely to place any plans Boeing had to increase its production output on its 737 family of aircraft on ice, as the regulator cracks down on production line oversight.

According to the FAA, the issue pertains to issues that were first located in 2019, when it was discovered that Boeing had installed unapproved sensors in heads-up displays on hundreds of jets across its 737 MAX and NG variants.

The FAA alleged that between June 2015 and April 2019, Boeing installed Rockwell Collins Head-up Guidance Systems on 791 of its 737 family jets, including 618 Boeing 737 NGs and 173 Boeing 737 MAX aircraft.

Boeing pointed the finger down its supply chain, and said it has begun corrective actions, including a safety audit to determine “whether its supply-chain oversight processes are appropriate”.

Boeing said that it had already “fully resolved” the issues in its production line and supply chain that caused the problems in this case.

“We continue to devote time and resources to improving safety and quality performance across our operations,” it said.


Meanwhile, the FAA said the US planemaker must strengthen internal procedures to properly ensure that it does not install any aircraft parts that fail to conform to their approved design.

According to the aviation regulator, the time and attention required in auditing its production quality control processes, particularly in light of a slew of more recent production faults also located in 737 variants, could risk Boeing being unable to “safely increase” its 737 production rate in the near future.

Boeing is also required to revise its production procedures to enable the FAA to observe production rate readiness assessments, and the data on which the company bases the assessments, and the results of the assessments.

The FAA said that the $17 million settlement also encompasses a separate production issue, in which 178 737 MAX aircraft were found to have non-conforming slat tracks installed, and improperly marked said slat tracks.

“Keeping the flying public safe is our primary responsibility,” FAA administrator Steve Dickson said of the case.

“That is not negotiable, and the FAA will hold Boeing and the aviation industry accountable to keep our skies safe.”

Should Boeing not comply with the stated corrective actions in a timely manner, the FAA has the ability to levy up to an additional $10.1 million in further penalties against the planemaker.

Notably, the unapproved heads-up displays have no relationship to the two fatal 737 MAX crashes that occurred in 2018 and 2019, which saw the plane grounded for nearly two years, nor did the non-conforming slats.

Boeing to pay $17m fines over 737 MAX and NG production issues Comment

  • Boeing has had to pay $17mil in penalties due to installation of unapproved parts found in 800 B737-MAX & NG aircraft by the FAA.

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