FAA: More Than 300 Boeing 737s May Have ‘Suspect Parts,’ Inspections Loom

Jun 3, 2019

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Airlines around the globe will soon be asked to inspect more than 300 Boeing 737 aircraft over concerns about “improper manufacturing” for components in the planes’ wings, the US Federal Aviation Administration said Sunday.

“Boeing has informed the FAA that certain 737NG and 737MAX leading edge slat tracks may have been improperly manufactured and may not meet all applicable regulatory requirements for strength and durability,” the FAA said in statement posted to its website.

In total, the FAA has identified 312 Boeing 737 jets worldwide that are of concern. Of those, 133 are 737NGs and 179 are 737 MAXes. The 737NGs — NG stands for “Next Generation” — are Boeing’s variant of the 737 that came before its MAX update to the model.

The FAA said it plans to issue an Airworthiness Directive that will give carriers flying the affected planes 10 days “to identify and remove the discrepant parts from service.”

It was not immediately clear which airlines would be affected, though the FAA indicated Boeing had identified serial numbers for the planes on which “suspect parts” may have been installed.

Overall, the 312 Boeing 737s subject to the inspections represent a tiny fraction of the thousands of 737s currently flying in global airline fleets.

And of those, all Boeing 737 MAX aircraft have already been grounded since March following two crashes of that model. The MAX is Boeing’s newest version of its 737 workhorse model.

As for the wing components causing the concern, the FAA said 148 parts manufactured by a Boeing sub-tier supplier are affected.

“The affected parts may be susceptible to premature failure or cracks resulting from the improper manufacturing process,” the FAA said in its statement. “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 fight.”

Boeing issued its own statement on the situation, with Boeing Commercial Airplanes CEO Kevin McAllister saying: “We are committed to supporting our customers in every way possible as they identify and replace these potentially non-conforming tracks.

Featured photo Jason Redmond, AFP/Getty Images.

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