Boeing Co., which is struggling to relaunch its grounded 737 MAX jets to service, has been hit with a new potential safety concern. The planemaker found debris in the fuel tanks of several undelivered 737 MAX jetliners, multiple reports said citing an internal memo.
The Foreign Object Debris or FOD were found during maintenance work on an undisclosed number of jets parked at facilities in Washington state and Texas, waiting to be delivered to airlines.
The company has been storing its undelivered planes in these facilities due to a worldwide ban on 737 MAX, its best-selling aircraft, last year following two deadly crashes that killed a total of 346 people.
Workers allegedly leave behind FOD including rags, tools, metal shavings and other materials during the production process.
Mark Jenks, general manager of the 737 program, reportedly told in the memo to employees that such debris was “absolutely unacceptable.”
Following the finding, the company conducted an internal investigation and is taking immediate corrective actions in its production system.
Meanwhile, the Federal Aviation Administration or FAA is monitoring the company’s response to the new issue.
The jet’s return to service is expected to be in the middle of this year. Regulators around the world had grounded the 737 MAX aircraft in March 2019 following the crashes. Since then, Boeing has been trying hard to put its hugely popular aircraft back to service.
The company in January 2019 had reported an order of 5,011 Max planes from 79 customers.
In early January this year, Boeing had reportedly found “previously unreported concerns” with the plane’s wiring. The potential flaws were reported during the company’s internal audit of the plane’s safety in December.
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