The Federal Aviation Administration of the U.S. warned airlines on Thursday over a pair of cabin air pressure switches on Boeing (NYSE:BA)’s 737 planes. The safety agency states that the devices need inspection as their malfunctioning could pose a safety threat.
Airlines to Take Immediate Action
As informed by The New York Times, should the switches fail, “oxygen levels could fall dangerously low inside a plane without warning,” hence incapacitating flight crews from controlling the aircraft.
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The agency asserted that “Addressing these failures requires immediate action.”
So far airlines operating Boeing’s best-selling airplane are yet to report any failures leading to a risky drop in oxygen levels during flight. The warning arrives months after an airplane operator reported that the switches on three different 737 models had failed a test.
By the end of 2020, the company was sure that such failures were not a security issue, but after further investigation, together with the F.A.A., they determined that they indeed represented a safety threat.
The new York Times reports that the F.A.A.’s directive “applies to all 737 models, including the troubled 737 Max, which was banned globally in March 2019 after two fatal crashes.”
Airlines are recommended to inspect 2,500 planes in the U.S. and more than 9,300 around the world. “The switches must be inspected within 2,000 flight hours of the last time they were tested or within 90 days of the effective date of the order.”
Boeing said in a statement, “Safety is our highest priority, and we fully support the F.A.A.’s direction.”
A Second Blow
In late June, Boeing was dealt a blow when the F.A.A stated that its 777X aircraft was not yet airworthy. The aircraft needs to take a significant certification step and will not be cleared to hit the market until mid-to-late 2023, the BBC reports.
A letter from the F.A.A dated May 13 pointed to several issues that prevent Boeing from requesting a Type Inspection Authorization (TIA) for the aircraft in question. The agency said “the aircraft is not yet TIA ready,” hence disapproving “a limited-range tiered TIA with a small number of certification flight test plans.”
The document cites several concerns related to a lack of both data and a preliminary safety assessment, so the F.A.A. could carry out its review.
The 777X is an updated version of the famous 777, and it’s been under development since 2013. Before the F.A.A considerations, Boeing was planning on launching the aircraft last year.
A Boeing spokeswoman said that they remain “fully focused on safety as our top priority during the development of the 777X.”