787 Dreamliner, falsification of documents… Boeing targeted by a new investigation by the American aviation regulator

787 Dreamliner, falsification of documents... Boeing targeted by a new investigation by the American aviation regulator

Le géant Boeing visé par une nouvelle enquête. (illustration) EPA – CAROLINE BREHMAN

The American aviation safety authority, the FAA, has opened an investigation into Boeing to determine whether the aircraft manufacturer has carried out the required inspections of its iconic 787 "Dreamliner" , and whether documents related to these inspections were falsified by employees.

Boeing once again in turmoil. This investigation by the American Civil Aviation Agency seeks to find out whether Boeing correctly carried out mandatory inspections regarding the junction of the wings to the fuselage "on certain 787 Dreamliner planes", the FAA said in an email Monday.

The agency specifies that it "investigating whether Boeing carried out the inspections and whether company employees may have falsified documents related to the plane". This investigation was initiated after Boeing informed the FAA in April that it may have failed to perform required inspections. ~/em>.

Aircraft manufacturer "re-inspects all 787 aircraft still in production and must also develop a plan to care for the in-service fleet" quot;, adds the FAA which does not indicate whether planes in service must be recalled for inspection. The agency gave the company three months to present a plan to address systematic quality control issues. >.

The 787 Dreamliner and the 737 MAX have suffered numerous production problems since 2023, which have slowed down deliveries from the aircraft manufacturer. This has forced several airlines to change their flight schedules for 2024.

"An irregularity"

Scott Stocker, manager of the 787 program, sent an email on April 29 to his Boeing employees in South Carolina, where these planes are manufactured, informing them that a "teammate saw what appeared to be an irregularity in a required compliance test at the wing body junction".

"He told his manager, who brought it to the attention of upper management", he added. "We quickly looked into the matter and learned that several individuals had violated company policies by not performing a required test, but recording the work as finished", wrote Scott Stocker again. He assured that the team of engineers (from Boeing) assessed that this fault had not created an immediate safety problem for the aircraft. flights".

A difficult pass

Boeing is going through a difficult time after several incidents. Three of the four commercial aircraft models currently manufactured by the American group are officially the subject of an investigation by the American Civil Aviation Regulatory Agency (FAA).

The regulator has closely monitored Boeing's favorite 737 since January, and is also investigating the 777 and the 787 Dreamliner, whose structural integrity had been called into question by a previous whistleblower. The aircraft manufacturer, which had already struggled to recover after two 737 MAX crashes, that of the Malaysian company Lion Air in 2018 and that of Ethiopian Airlines in 2019, has been in turmoil for more than ;#39;one year. A succession of quality and safety problems looms over its planes.

Latest serious incident to date: an Alaska Airlines Boeing lost a cap holder in flight on January 5.

On April 17, four whistleblowers, including an engineer and former Boeing employees, also testified before a US Senate committee of inquiry to warn of "serious problems" in the production of Boeing 737 MAX, 787 Dreamliner and 777 aircraft. One of the whistleblowers there said he was retaliated against when he raised questions about the manufacturing processes of the 787, which he said threatened the safety of the planes.

These setbacks led to the announcement of the departure of Boeing CEO Dave Calhoun, who is due to leave his position at the end of the year. Last week, Glass Lewis, the advisory firm to Boeing's institutional shareholders, has urged them to vote against the re-election of three former members to the board of directors, including Dave Calhoun.

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