The FAA has sent enforcement letters to Boeing, proposing to assess $1.25 million in civil penalties because Boeing’s “managers exerted undue pressure or interfered with the work of FAA designees at the company’s plant in South Carolina,” the FAA said in a statement released August 6. Boeing has 30 days to respond to the FAA following receipt of the letters.
There are two proposed civil penalties, the first for $1,065,655 and alleging that “Boeing implemented an improper structure of its FAA-approved Organization Designation Authorization (ODA) program,” according to the FAA. The issue was that managers “not in approved ODA management positions” were overseeing employees in two ODA units, and thus the ODA administrators were not able “to effectively represent the FAA’s interests.” This took place between November 2017 and July 2019. This penalty amount also covers allegations that “non-ODA Boeing managers exerted undue pressure or interfered with ODA unit members” between September 2018 and May 2019.
The FAA proposed a second penalty for $184,522 and this covered events on Feb. 26, 2020, alleging that Boeing “failed to follow its quality control processes and subjected ODA members to undue pressure or interfered with an airworthiness inspection of a Boeing 787-9.”
Safety of the aircraft involved in these alleged violations was not affected, according to the FAA. “In both cases, the FAA found that despite the alleged undue pressure or interference from Boeing managers, the ODA unit members fulfilled their FAA responsibilities to ensure aircraft were conforming and in a condition for safe operation prior to issuance of their airworthiness certificates.”
Asked about the proposed civil penalties, Boeing provided this statement: “The FAA’s proposed civil penalties announced today are a clear and strong reminder of our obligations as an ODA holder. Undue pressure of any type is inconsistent with our values and will not be tolerated. In both instances, the allegations were appropriately reported, investigated, and disclosed to the FAA. Boeing implemented corrective action in response to both incidents and cooperated fully with the FAA’s own independent investigations.”