Boeing 737 MAX Faces Fresh Inspections
By Alison Sider and Doug Cameron
Boeing Co. said on Friday it had told some 737 MAX operators to
inspect planes for potential electrical problems, prompting
airlines to remove the aircraft from service.
The company said aircraft flown by 16 airlines were affected by
the issue discovered during production of an undelivered jet in
Seattle. The MAX re-entered service in December having been
grounded since March 2019 following two fatal accidents.
Boeing didn't disclose how many planes were affected and said it
was too early to know how long it would take to inspect the planes,
ensure that the affected part is correctly installed and make any
The electrical issue relates to a component unrelated to the
automated flight-control system malfunction that led to the crashes
of planes flown by Indonesia's Lion Air in October 2018 and
Ethiopian Airlines in March 2019, according to a Boeing
spokesperson. Boeing shares were down 1.3% in early trade.
American Airlines Group Inc. said it was notified of the
potential production issue with the electrical component on
Thursday night. The airline said it took 17 of its most recently
delivered MAX aircraft out of service to complete necessary
inspections. American still has 24 other MAX jets in its fleet that
it said were produced before the plane was recertified by
regulators last year.
David Seymour, American's chief operating officer, wrote in a
message to employees Friday that Boeing had traced the issue to a
production change made in the installation process that occurred
after American had received its last aircraft before the March 2019
grounding. "We will never knowingly operate an aircraft with a
known or potential issue," he wrote, though he said that there
would be some operational challenges, such as rerouting crew
members and changing schedules.
Southwest Airlines Co. said 30 of its 58 MAX jets were affected
and had been removed from flying, but didn't expect its operations
to be affected as the pandemic-driven travel slowdown has left it
with surplus jets.
United Airlines Holdings Inc. said it was taking 16 MAX jets out
of service, out of the 30 it has in its fleet. The airline said it
was working to cover the flying with other planes and didn't have
an estimate of when it would be able to bring back the affected MAX
Alaska Air Group Inc. said it had taken all four of its MAX jets
out of service for inspection, at Boeing's recommendation.
More than 100 MAX jets have re-entered service since regulators
cleared the plane to restart commercial service, with Boeing
working through a backlog of 450 undelivered jets as well as more
than 380 operating when regulators grounded the global fleet.
Boeing on Friday said it is working with the Federal Aviation
Administration on resolving the issue and was continuing production
of the MAX. The FAA said in a statement that it would ensure the
issue was addressed.
Dave Sebastian contributed to this article.
Write to Alison Sider at firstname.lastname@example.org and Doug Cameron
(END) Dow Jones Newswires
April 09, 2021 11:25 ET (15:25 GMT)
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