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FAA Opens New Investigation Into Boeing Aircraft Quality

Boeing 737 production | Image by Boeing
Boeing 737 production | Image by Boeing

An employee at Boeing’s South Carolina manufacturing facility reported to his manager that inspections of the wing-to-body attachments on some Boeing 787 aircraft were falsified, prompting the Federal Aviation Administration to open another investigation into the troubled company.

“After receiving the report, we quickly reviewed the matter and learned that several people had been violating Company policies by not performing a required test but recording the work as having been completed,” Scott Stocker, who heads the 787 program, wrote in an email to employees, according to the Associated Press.

After receiving the employee’s report, Boeing informed the FAA of the falsified inspections. Engineers cannot confirm whether aircraft already put into service were inspected but stated that the infraction did not create “an immediate safety of flight issue.”

In-production aircraft will be re-inspected, which is expected to lead to further delivery delays. Boeing’s inability to fulfill orders this year has led to reduced flights and “voluntary” time off for pilots, as previously reported by The Dallas Express.

“The company voluntarily informed us in April that it may not have completed required inspections to confirm adequate bonding and grounding where the wings join the fuselage on certain 787 Dreamliner airplanes,” the FAA said, per AP. “The FAA is investigating whether Boeing completed the inspections and whether company employees may have falsified aircraft records.”

Quality control issues at Boeing have become a focus since crashes in 2018 and 2019 caused by faulty flight control systems that forced two 737 MAX airliners into uncontrollable nose dives. The crashes in Ethiopia and Indonesia killed 346 people and led to the global grounding of the aircraft.

Following the two crashes involving Boeing aircraft, regulators applied a deferred prosecution agreement that required the company to meet certain quality standards. Families of those who were killed in the crashes are now calling for the U.S. Justice Department to reopen the case and enforce prosecution.

“The misleading statements, half-truths, and omissions communicated by Boeing employees to the FAA impeded the government’s ability to ensure the safety of the flying public,” stated U.S. Attorney Erin Nealy Cox for the Northern District of Texas. “This case sends a clear message: The Department of Justice will hold manufacturers like Boeing accountable for defrauding regulators -– especially in industries where the stakes are this high.”

Despite the agreement, Boeing has continued to receive complaints about placing profits over passengers and focusing on social issues rather than quality. Recent claims suggest that the company focuses on “diversity, equity, and inclusion” policies more than safety, as previously reported by DX.

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