FAA Proposes $2.75 million Penalty against Boeing

 - July 26, 2013, 2:43 PM
The FAA alleges that Boeing failed to correct quality control "issues" on its 777 program in a timely manner. (Photo: Boeing)

The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration on Friday proposed levying a $2.75 million civil penalty against Boeing Commercial Airplanes for its alleged failure to maintain its quality-control system in accordance with approved FAA procedures. Specifically, after discovering its use of nonconforming fasteners on 777s in September 2008, Boeing took more than two years to implement a plan to address the problem, said the FAA.

Boeing stopped using the nonconforming fasteners after officials discovered the problem, according to the agency. However, some of the underlying manufacturing “issues” continued to exist until the company implemented its so-called action plan, it added.

“Manufacturers must make it a priority to identify and correct quality problems in a timely manner,” said FAA Administrator Michael Huerta.

Following the discovery of the use of the improper fasteners, the FAA in October 2008 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 apply a remedy. The company finally implemented a plan on Nov. 10, 2010, according to the agency.

In a statement sent to AIN, Boeing said it has already begun working with the FAA to “understand and address any remaining concerns” associated with the proposed penalty. “The safety of our products is Boeing’s number one priority,” said the statement. “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 November 10, 2010,” it added. “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.”

Boeing must formally respond to the FAA’s violation letter within 30 days.