U.S. regulator seeks to fine Boeing $5.4 million for defective parts on 737 MAX planes

FAA alleging company failed to prevent installation of defective parts on 737 MAX airplanes

WASHINGTON -- The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) said on Friday it was seeking to fine Boeing Co $5.4 million, alleging it failed to prevent the installation of defective parts on 737 MAX airplanes.

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The FAA alleged in a statement that Boeing “failed to adequately oversee its suppliers to ensure they complied with the company’s quality assurance system, ... Boeing knowingly submitted aircraft for final FAA airworthiness certification after determining that the parts could not be used due to a failed strength test.”

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The FAA proposed a $3.9 million civil penalty against Boeing for the same issue in December involving 133 737 NG airplanes, which is the prior generation of the 737.

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The 737 MAX has been grounded since March after two fatal crashes killed 346 people. Boeing’s safety record on a number of issues have come under scrutiny from lawmakers and the FAA.

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The FAA disclosed in June that about 300 NG and 737 MAX airplanes could contain improperly manufactured parts and said it would require these parts to be quickly replaced.

The parts at issue are tracks on the leading edge of the wings used to guide the movement of slats that provide additional lift during takeoff and landing, the FAA said. The issue could result in a slat striking an airplane, potentially resulting in injury to passengers or preventing a safe landing.