2019 has to be Boeing’s least productive and favourable year in the recent past and it’s still getting worse for the American multinational Aerospace company. The Federal Aviation Authority (FAA) has proposed fining Boeing $3.9 million for “knowingly” installing potentially faulty components on more than 130 737 NG jets and presenting the planes as airworthy.
Slat tracks, located on the leading edge of the wings of a Boeing 737, are the parts in question. additional lift during takeoff and landing.
In a statement, the FAA said Boeing “knowingly” failed to maintain its quality assurance system leading to the installation of weakened parts breaking the Federal aviation regulations.
An airworthiness directive was issued by the FAA to ensure the defective parts were removed from in-service aircraft. A civil penalty letter to the manufacturer.
“Boeing failed to maintain its quality system by failing to detect improperly marked slat tracks, installing improperly marked slat tracks in aircraft, and not managing supplier quality,” the FAA letter said. Boeing used parts “that should have been rejected and subsequently [certified] that the aircraft were airworthy,” the agency added.
The Dec. 6 letter reveals that a plating process performed by Southwest United Industries (SUI) introduced weakness, or hydrogen embrittlement, in 233 sets of slat tracks made in mid-2018. SUI informed slat track manufacturer Kencoa Industries, which told aerostructures provider Spirit AeroSystems. Spirit contacted Boeing in September 2018, and recommended the OEM accept the parts “as-is,” the FAA letter said. Boeing rejected this and told Spirit to file a “notice of escapement,” or declaration by a supplier of a problem with its products.
“The FAA alleges that identification of the defective parts was hindered because SUI did not apply a protective coating over the part identification mark that is required to be displayed on the slat tracks,’’ it said.
“As a result, those part identification marks became either obscured or invisible, making it difficult to identify the affected parts.
This is not good for Boeing as they are still under the radar for the Max’s certification process and MCAS problems.