Boeing Co faces new electrical grounding issue in best selling 737 MAX

According to two sources familiar with the matter at hand, U.S. air safety officials have asked Boeing Co to submit fresh documentation and analysis showing numerous 737 MAX subsystems would not be affected by electrical grounding issues which were first flagged in three areas of the jet earlier this year in April.

The development casts a shadow over when Boeing’s best-selling jet would be cleared to fly by the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).

Due to the electrical problems, nearly a quarter of Boeing’s 737 MAX fleet have suspended.

According to U.S. airlines, they expected “Boeing to release the service bulletins as soon as this week that would allow them to make fixes and soon return the planes to service, but this latest issue will likely push that timelime back.”

“We continue to work closely with the FAA and our customers to address the ground path issue in affected 737s,” said a spokeswoman from Boeing.

When asked to respond on the status of the planes, a spokesman from the FAA said “we are continuing to work with Boeing.”

Last month, airlines grounded dozens of 737 MAX jets from service following a warning from Boeing regarding “a production-related electrical grounding problem in a backup power control unit situated in the cockpit on some recently built airplanes”.

The issue has also halted deliveries of new planes. The electrical grounding issue was also found in two other places on the flight deck, including in a storage rack where the affected control unit is kept as well as on the instrument panel facing the pilots.

The relatively straightforward electrical issue essentially underscores a tougher regulatory posture that Boeing faces as it tries to emerge from the 737 MAX crisis and the overlapping Wuhan Coronavirus-induced COVID-19 pandemic.

According to two sources, “late last week, Boeing submitted service bulletins advising airlines on how to fix the problems with grounding, or the electrical paths designed to maintain safety in the event of a surge of voltage”.

They went on to add, “Boeing has proposed adding a bonding strap or cable that workers screw onto two different surfaces creating a grounding path”.

Boeing had initially told airlines that a fix could take hours or a few days per jet.

Last week, the FAA had issued a new airworthiness directive requiring a fix before the jets resume flight, and had said the issue impacts 109 in-service planes worldwide.

According to sources, the issue impacts more than 300 planes in Boeing’s inventory.

Body

According to two sources familiar with the matter at hand, U.S. air safety officials have asked Boeing Co to submit fresh documentation and analysis showing numerous 737 MAX subsystems would not be affected by electrical grounding issues which were first flagged in three areas of the jet earlier this year in April.

The development casts a shadow over when Boeing’s best-selling jet would be cleared to fly by the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).

Due to the electrical problems, nearly a quarter of Boeing’s 737 MAX fleet have suspended.

According to U.S. airlines, they expected “Boeing to release the service bulletins as soon as this week that would allow them to make fixes and soon return the planes to service, but this latest issue will likely push that timelime back.”

“We continue to work closely with the FAA and our customers to address the ground path issue in affected 737s,” said a spokeswoman from Boeing.

When asked to respond on the status of the planes, a spokesman from the FAA said “we are continuing to work with Boeing.”

Last month, airlines grounded dozens of 737 MAX jets from service following a warning from Boeing regarding “a production-related electrical grounding problem in a backup power control unit situated in the cockpit on some recently built airplanes”.

The issue has also halted deliveries of new planes. The electrical grounding issue was also found in two other places on the flight deck, including in a storage rack where the affected control unit is kept as well as on the instrument panel facing the pilots.

The relatively straightforward electrical issue essentially underscores a tougher regulatory posture that Boeing faces as it tries to emerge from the 737 MAX crisis and the overlapping Wuhan Coronavirus-induced COVID-19 pandemic.

According to two sources, “late last week, Boeing submitted service bulletins advising airlines on how to fix the problems with grounding, or the electrical paths designed to maintain safety in the event of a surge of voltage”.

They went on to add, “Boeing has proposed adding a bonding strap or cable that workers screw onto two different surfaces creating a grounding path”.

Boeing had initially told airlines that a fix could take hours or a few days per jet.

Last week, the FAA had issued a new airworthiness directive requiring a fix before the jets resume flight, and had said the issue impacts 109 in-service planes worldwide.

According to sources, the issue impacts more than 300 planes in Boeing’s inventory.



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