WASHINGTON, 27 July 2013.Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) officials are proposing a $2.75 million civil penalty against The Boeing Company’s commercial airplanes unit (Boeing Commercial Airplanes), alleging the company has failed to maintain its quality control system in accordance with approved FAA procedures.
“Safety is our top priority and a robust quality control system is a vital part of maintaining the world’s safest air transportation system,” explains U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx, who replaced Ray LaHood early this month. “Airplane manufacturers must take prompt and thorough steps to correct safety and compliance problems once they become aware of them.”
The proposed fine relates to an issue that surfaced in Sept. 2008, when Boeing reportedly discovered that it had been installing nonconforming fasteners on its model 777 airplanes. In Oct. 2008, the FAA sent Boeing a letter of investigation that requested a response within 20 working days. The FAA alleges that Boeing repeatedly submitted action plans that set deadlines for the accomplishment of certain corrective actions, but subsequently failed to implement those plans. Boeing implemented a plan to address the fastener issue on 10 Nov. 2010, more than two years after Boeing first learned of the problem, according to an FAA spokesperson.
“Manufacturers must make it a priority to identify and correct quality problems in a timely manner,” explains FAA Administrator Michael Huerta.
Boeing is said to have stopped using the nonconforming fasteners after officials discovered the problem; yet, some of the underlying manufacturing issues continued to exist until after the corrective action plan was in place.
Boeing has 30 days from the receipt of the FAA’s civil penalty letter to respond to the agency.