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Boeing Blocked From Increasing 737 MAX Production

Image Credit - Reuters

Boeing Blocked From Increasing 737 MAX Production

The aircraft manufacturer has been under intense scrutiny ever since a chunk of fuselage blew out of one of its new planes shortly after take-off earlier this year.

A ban on crisis-hit Boeing increasing production of its best-selling 737 MAX planes is to continue amid ongoing safety concerns. US regulators first introduced the restrictions in February – and have now announced they will continue for at least the “next few months”, Sky News reported.

It comes after officials from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) held talks with outgoing Chief Executive Dave Calhoun and other senior figures at the company. Boeing has been subjected to “enhanced oversight” by regulators after a chunk of fuselage blew out of an Alaska Airlines new 737 MAX 9 plane shortly after take-off. Boeing 737 Max’s door which ripped off midair revealed a massive safety lapse — four key bolts meant to lock the door were missing.

Image Credit – Reuters

The door plug was manufactured by Boeing’s supplier Spirit AeroSystems, and originally installed in the fuselage before being delivered to the aerospace giant. According to the preliminary report, this door plug was later removed in the factory due to damage that had occurred during the production process.

Photographic evidence suggests that when the plug was reinstalled, at least three of the four locking bolts were not put back in place. Damage to the door plug and its hinges, as well as a lack of damage to the areas where the bolts should have been, suggests that the bolts were missing before the door moved out of its normal position, the report said.

Spirit AeroSystems said it remain focused on working closely with Boeing and regulators “on continuous improvement in our processes and meeting the highest standards of safety, quality and reliability”. The findings are likely to make uncomfortable reading for Boeing, which has already faced harsh criticism over its corporate culture and quality control processes.

Another Black Mark For Boeing For Damaged Wing Discovered Mid-Air

Image credit – Kevin Clarke

If it was not bad enough, United Airlines met with another incident terrifying the living daylights out of a passenger (in midair again) when a wing was showing signs of falling apart. Shortly after, Ed Clark, Head of 737 Max program left Boeing immediately. His 18 years of service were not enough to mitigate the damage or redeem for his loyalty to the aircraft maker.

In the latest incident involving the engine cover, the aircraft carried 135 passengers and six crew members on board and rose to about 10,300 ft (3,140m) before landing. This came amid manufacturing and safety concerns at Boeing.

Boeing has also had to face a string of claims from whistleblowers, including an allegation – which the firm has denied – that it had been “putting out defective planes“.

The FAA said it would continue with weekly meetings and other scrutiny of the company. Administrator Mike Whitaker said he did not expect Boeing to win approval to increase production “in the next few months” and said it faced a “long road” to address safety issues. 

He added that regulators would monitor quality and safety improvements at the firm “to give us a fundamental picture of whether they are in the right zone”.

Mr Whitaker added: “Regardless of how many planes Boeing builds, we need to see a strong and unwavering commitment to safety and quality that endures over time. This is about systemic change, and there’s a lot of work to be done.”

Boeing is said to be currently producing significantly fewer than the 38 737 MAXs per month it is permitted to by the FAA. The latest development may be viewed as a setback by airlines which are awaiting deliveries of new planes. They include Ryanair, which previously complained that Boeing’s delays were a threat to its growth.

The budget operator warned in March that it would have to tweak some of its summer schedules because the manufacturer was only able to provide 40 out of 57 planned aircraft before the end of June. Ryanair’s Chief Executive Michael O’Leary said at the time he was “very disappointed” by the delays.





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