US officials probe allegations Boeing workers falsified inspection records

Federal Aviation Administration says Boeing voluntarily informed officials that inspections may not have been completed.

Boeing's safety record has been under intense scrutiny since a door panel blew out of a Boeing 737 Max during an Alaska Airlines flight in January [Gavin McIntyre/The Post And Courier via AP]

Air safety officials in the United States are investigating whether employees at Boeing falsified inspections records for the 787 Dreamliner.

The Federal Aviation Administration said on Monday that it had opened the probe after Boeing voluntarily informed officials that it may not have completed required inspections to “confirm adequate bonding and grounding where the wings join the fuselage on certain 787 Dreamliner airplanes”.

“The FAA is investigating whether Boeing completed the inspections and whether company employees may have falsified aircraft records. At the same time, Boeing is reinspecting all 787 airplanes still within the production system and must also create a plan to address the in-service fleet,” an FAA spokesperson said in a statement.

“As the investigation continues, the FAA will take any necessary action – as always – to ensure the safety of the flying public.”

Boeing raised its concerns after an employee observed an “irregularity” and raised the issue with a supervisor, Scott Stocker, head of the Boeing 787 programme, said in an email to staff.

“We quickly reviewed the matter and learned that several people had been violating company policies by not performing a required test, but recording the work as having been completed,” Stocker said.

Stocker said that Boeing “promptly informed our regulator about what we learned and are taking swift and serious corrective action with multiple teammates.”

“Fortunately, our engineering team has assessed that this misconduct did not create an immediate safety of flight issue,” Stocker said.

“But it will impact our customers and factory teammates, because the test now needs to be conducted out of sequence on airplanes in the build process. I know this frustrates all of you as much as it frustrates me, and it’s a reminder of why it’s so critical that each of us does our part, every day, to ensure full compliance with our policies and procedures. And to speak up if you see something that doesn’t seem right.”

The probe comes after a Boeing whistleblower made separate allegations of serious flaws in the production of the 787 at a Senate committee hearing last month.

Boeing’s safety record has been under intense scrutiny since a door panel blew out of a Boeing 737 Max during an Alaska Airlines flight in January.

Following the near-disaster, the FAA barred Boeing from expanding production of the 737 MAX and ordered it to present a plan to address “systemic quality-control issues” within 90 days.

The mid-air blowout was the latest incident to tarnish Boeing’s image after two 737 MAX crashes in 2018 and 2019 that killed 346 people.

Source: Al Jazeera and news agencies