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US: Air regulator opens probe into Boeing and its 787: News

US: Air regulator opens probe into Boeing and its 787: News

The US Civil Aviation Agency (FAA) announced on Monday that it would launch an investigation into Boeing to determine whether the planemaker carried out required inspections of its iconic 787 “Dreamliner” and whether documents were falsified by employees.

The FAA said in an email that the investigation is specifically aimed at determining whether Boeing properly performed mandatory inspections related to wing joints on “certain 787 Dreamliner aircraft.”

The agency says it is “investigating whether Boeing conducted inspections and whether company employees may have falsified documents related to the flight.”

The investigation was launched after Boeing told the company in April that it had “not performed the required inspections”.

The FAA says the planemaker is “re-inspecting all 787s still in production and developing a plan to take care of the in-service fleet.”

The 787 Dreamliner and 737 Max have been plagued by several production issues since 2023, slowing the airliner's deliveries. This has forced many airlines to change their flight schedules for 2024.

Scott Stocker, head of the 787 program, sent an email on April 29 to his staff at Boeing in South Carolina, where the planes are manufactured, saying “a team member discovered an irregularity in a required compliance test. The wing body junction”.

“He spoke to his manager, who brought it to the attention of senior management,” he added.

“We quickly looked into this matter and learned that several individuals violated company policies by not performing the required testing but recording work completion,” Scott Stocker wrote.

He assured that a team of engineers (from Boeing) had assessed that the fault did not create an immediate flight safety issue.

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Boeing, which has already struggled to recover after two crashes in 2018 and 2019, is in turmoil after more than a year of quality and safety issues with its planes.

Notably, an Alaska Airlines flight on January 5 lost a hat holder on board.

On April 17, four whistleblowers, including an engineer and former Boeing employees, testified before a US Senate investigative committee to prevent “serious problems” in the production of the Boeing 737 MAX, 787 Dreamliner and 777.

It follows Boeing CEO Dave Calhoun's announcement that he will step down at the end of the year.

Published on May 6 at 11:34 pm, AFP