The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is proposing a $2.75 million civil penalty against Boeing for quality control violations, it announced this afternoon.
According to the FAA, Boeing discovered a problem with fasteners in its 777 jets in September 2008, and repeatedly failed to implement proposed plans to correct the issue.
“aeroplane manufacturers must take prompt and thorough steps to correct safety and compliance problems once they become aware of them,” said Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx.
Boeing has 30 days to respond to the FAA.
Here’s Boeing’s reply:
The safety of our products is Boeing’s number one priority. We take any concern about safety, compliance and conformity very seriously.
The specific corrective action issue listed in the FAA’s proposed civil penalty was closed on Nov. 10, 2010. To correct this administrative issue, we implemented an enhanced corrective action management system that includes a robust database for tracking issues, additional management oversight and a series of regular meetings with the FAA to review all open cases to ensure they closed in a timely manner.
We are working closely with the FAA to ensure we understand and address any remaining concerns with this proposed penalty. We will respond within the next 30 days.
Here’s the full FAA release:
WASHINGTON – The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is proposing a $2.75 million civil penalty against Boeing Co.’s commercial aeroplanes unit for allegedly failing 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,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx. “aeroplane manufacturers must take prompt and thorough steps to correct safety and compliance problems once they become aware of them.”
In September 2008, Boeing discovered that it had been installing nonconforming fasteners on its model 777 aeroplanes. On October 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. The company implemented a plan to address the fastener issue on Nov. 10, 2010, more than two years after Boeing first learned of the problem.
“Manufacturers must make it a priority to identify and correct quality problems in a timely manner,” said FAA Administrator Michael Huerta.
Boeing stopped using the nonconforming fasteners after officials discovered the problem. However, 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.
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