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 airplanes 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. “Airplane 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 airplanes. 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.