Boeing to inspect 737 MAX planes as debris found in fuel tanks
Boeing's woes continued on Wednesday when the troubled aircraft maker was forced to order inspections of all its 737 MAX planes after debris was discovered in the fuel tanks of some planes.
The Seattle-based manufacturer is trying to regain certification of the aircraft from US authorities after two crashes of the popular passenger jet apparently caused by faulty sensors killed more than 300 people.
All planes in the fleet have been grounded and Boeing this year confirmed it had temporarily halted production pending investigations.
“Safely returning the 737 MAX to service is our top priority. While conducting maintenance we discovered foreign object debris [FOD] in undelivered 737 MAX airplanes currently in storage,” Boeing said in a statement.
“That finding led to a robust internal investigation and immediate corrective actions in our production system. We are also inspecting all stored 737 Max airplanes at Boeing to ensure there is no FOD.”
Boeing added that he had asked customers with airplanes in active storage for more than one year to inspect the fuel tank for FOD as part of their procedures.
The decision to halt production on the MAX has impacted the US economy with manufacturing output falling slightly in January. The Federal Reserve said last Friday that factory output fell 0.1% last month after a small 0.1% gain in December.
US manufacturing has shown signs of bouncing back from a year-long downturn but Boeing's troubles, which affect hundreds of suppliers, are threatening the recovery.
Boeing produced around 400 MAX planes since the grounding last year until it halted production last month.
The company suspended delivery of new aircraft after regulators grounded them worldwide last March after two fatal crashes — in Indonesia in October 2018 and in Ethiopia less than five months later — killed all 346 people aboard the two flights.