FAA Opens Another Investigation Into Boeing — Now Focused on the 787

Skift Take

Scrutiny continues to grow on Boeing as the Federal Aviation Administration opened another probe into the U.S. plane maker.

The Federal Aviation Administration said Monday it is opening a new inquiry into Boeing, this time related to the company’s inspections of the 787 Dreamliner and whether employees falsified records.

The U.S. plane maker informed the agency in April that it may not have completed the required inspections related to the bonding and grounding where wings join the fuselage of the 787. 

Boeing is reinspecting 787 planes in its production system. The FAA is requesting that Boeing also create a plan to address the issue with its in-service fleet. 

“As the investigation continues, the FAA will take any necessary action – as always – to ensure the safety of the flying public,” the FAA said in a statement. 

A spokesperson for Boeing said no airplanes would need to be taken out of service for inspection. Scott Stocker, the head of the 787 program, told staff in an email on April 29 that the engineering team assessed that the problem “did not create an immediate safety of flight issue.”

“We promptly informed our regulator about what we learned and are taking swift and serious corrective action with multiple teammates,” Stocker said in the email seen by Skift. 

Stocker said the group learned “several people had been violating Company policies by not performing a required test.”

Boeing had also been under investigation for the Alaska Airlines blowout incident that involved the 737 Max 9. And a Boeing engineer alleged in March that the company took shortcuts when manufacturing the fuselages of the 787. The FAA is also currently investigating those claims. 

787 in the Spotlight

The 787 has been in the spotlight after a Boeing engineer claimed he saw “people jumping on pieces of the plane” to close the gaps of the fuselage. Boeing has also slowed production of the 787 due to a shortage of key parts. The slowdown in 787 production is unrelated to the whistleblower’s claims. 

Boeing has repeatedly refuted the whistleblower’s allegations. The company previously told Skift that the 787 has been through extensive and rigorous testing.

“Under FAA oversight, we have painstakingly inspected and reworked airplanes and improved production quality to meet exacting standards that are measured in the one hundredths of an inch,” Boeing said in a statement April 17. “We are fully confident in the safety and durability of the 787 Dreamliner.”

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