Splashed by damage, Boeing fined for safety breaches

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The US aviation constable, the FAA, announced Thursday that it had fined Boeing $ 6.6 million (5.4 million euros) for various security breaches, including 5.4 million (4 , 4 million euros) for not having implemented certain conditions of an agreement dating from 2015.

The federal agency also accuses Boeing officials of exerting excessive pressure on employees performing duties on behalf of the regulator at its plant in South Carolina, notably during an inspection of a Boeing 787 “Dreamliner” in February 2020, details a press release. Manufacturing defects on this device were discovered in the summer, prompting the manufacturer to delay deliveries.

Read also: Boeing has a chain of disasters

For Boeing, the penalties announced Thursday “equitably resolve the civil penalties already announced while taking into account the continuous improvements in safety, quality and compliance processes”, according to a message sent to Agence France-Presse (AFP).

Objectives not achieved

The fine comes as a Boeing 777 plane hits the headlines after a dramatic damage last week in Denver. The incident, which left no human victims, also shone the spotlight on the relationship between the aircraft manufacturer and its main regulator.

To read: After Colorado incident, additional inspections ordered on Boeing 777

According to the agreement signed in 2015 with the FAA, Boeing “was committed to modifying its internal processes to improve and prioritize compliance with regulatory standards”. However, the manufacturer, who had already paid a fine of 12 million dollars (9.8 million euros) at the time, “did not achieve some of its objectives”, and “some company officials did not ‘have not given priority to compliance with FAA rules,’ said the regulator.

“I have repeatedly told Boeing executives that the company must prioritize safety and compliance with standards,” noted the boss of the authority, Steve Dickson, in the statement.

A penalty for failure to inspect the 787

According to an agreement between the authorities and the manufacturer, Boeing employees can also, on behalf of the FAA, inspect aircraft and issue certificates of airworthiness.

However, between November 2017 and July 2019, some of these employees were under the direction of people not authorized by the FAA. In addition, between September 2018 and May 2019, employees were subjected to undue pressure from Boeing executives, estimates the FAA.

The manufacturer was fined 1.1 million dollars (900,000 euros) for these breaches. Another penalty, of 184,522 dollars (151,737 euros), is more specifically linked to the inspection of 787 in February 2020.

Read more: Boeing 737 MAX: the US air transport gendarme in the hot seat

The FAA, criticized for its inaction in the crisis of two fatal 737 MAX crashes, is back in the spotlight after a spectacular damage in the western United States of a Boeing 777 equipped with Pratt & Whitney engines. The US Department of Transportation also released a report on Wednesday following the 737 MAX accidents, saying the FAA needed to improve and strengthen its inspections of new planes.