After taking decisive action to ground approximately 171 Boeing 737-9 MAX planes last week, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has announced new and significant actions to immediately increase its oversight of Boeing production and manufacturing.
These actions came into play just one day after the FAA formally notified Boeing that it has launched an investigation into the US aircraft manufacturer.
Last week’s grounding of approximately 171 Boeing 737-9 MAX planes was the initial FAA response to the incident which saw a Boeing Model 737-9 MAX lose a passenger door plug assembly mid-flight.
This then prompted the FAA to launch an immediate investigation into Boeing’s production and manufacturing practices.
The FAA’s most recent announcement reveals a multi-faceted approach to enhance oversight and address potential safety risks in Boeing’s production line.
Let’s delve into the key actions the FAA is undertaking:
1. Audit of Boeing 737-9 MAX Production Line
The FAA is conducting a thorough audit of the Boeing 737-9 MAX production line and its suppliers. This audit aims to evaluate Boeing’s adherence to approved quality procedures.
The results of this audit will play a pivotal role in determining the need for additional audits, reflecting the FAA’s commitment to ensuring stringent quality control.
2. Increased Monitoring of In-Service Events
Acknowledging the significance of real-world performance, the FAA is intensifying its monitoring of Boeing 737-9 MAX in-service events.
This proactive approach ensures a closer examination of the aircraft’s operational challenges, enabling the FAA to respond swiftly to any emerging concerns.
3. Assessment of Safety Risks and Delegated Authority
The FAA is not only scrutinizing Boeing’s production line but also assessing safety risks associated with delegated authority and quality oversight.
FAA Administrator Mike Whitaker emphasizes the necessity to re-examine the delegation of authority, stating, “The grounding of the 737-9 and the multiple production-related issues identified in recent years require us to look at every option to reduce risk.”
4. Exploring Third-Party Oversight
In a significant move, the FAA is exploring the possibility of employing an independent third party to oversee Boeing’s inspections and its quality system.
This step is indicative of the US aviation regulators intent to commit to a meticulous and unbiased evaluation, which prioritizes safety over speed in returning the Boeing 737-9 MAX to service.
Stance on Safety
In a reaffirmation of its commitment, the FAA once again emphasized in its most recent statement that the safety of the flying public takes precedence over expediency.
The ongoing investigation aims to determine if Boeing failed to ensure completed products adhered to approved designs and met the conditions for safe operation as per FAA regulations.
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