Sun, Jul 28, 2013 - Page 13 News List

US aviation agency proposes US$2.75m Boeing fine


A British Airways Boeing 787 Dreamliner is parked at Heathrow Airport in London on July 4. Regulators grounded all 787 Dreamliners in service in mid-January after two safety incidents involving the plane’s lightweight lithium-ion batteries.

Photo: AFP

The US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) said it was proposing a US$2.75 million fine for Boeing’s commercial plane division for failing to take prompt action after non-conforming fasteners were discovered in 2008 on its 777 planes.

“Safety is our top priority and a robust quality control system is a vital part of maintaining the world’s safest air transportation system,” US Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx said on Friday announcing the action.

“Airplane manufacturers must take prompt and thorough steps to correct safety and compliance problems once they become aware of them,” Foxx said.

Boeing said it took corrective action and closed the matter in November 2010 and is working with the FAA to “understand and address any remaining concerns.”

Boeing said its actions included greater management oversight, a database for tracking issues and regular meetings with the FAA to ensure open cases were closed on time.

The action came as Boeing’s 787 Dreamliner aircraft has suffered a spate of mishaps in recent weeks, including a spontaneous fire on an Ethiopian Airlines-owned 787 that was parked at a remote stand at London’s Heathrow Airport. In January, regulators grounded the global fleet of 50 Dreamliners after batteries burned on two jets within two weeks. The planes were allowed back in the air in April after Boeing redesigned the battery system.

The FAA said Boeing discovered in September 2008 it had been installing non-conforming fasteners on its 777 airplanes, but then took more than two years to implement a plan to correct the problem.

Although Boeing had stopped using the non-conforming fasteners after the problem was discovered, some of the underlying manufacturing issues continued to exist until after the corrective action plan was in place, the agency said.

The FAA said the company has 30 days to respond to the fine.

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