by: DAVID KOENIG, Associated Press

Posted: May 27, 2021 / 11:52 am CDT
Updated: May 27, 2021 / 11:52 am CDT

Boeing 737 Max aircraft stand in a bin near Boeing Field in Seattle on Monday, April 26, 2021. Boeing pays $ 17 million and promises to take steps to fix production issues with its popular 737 jets. The Federal Aviation Administration announced Thursday, May 27, that the settlement will cover the installation of unapproved sensors and other parts on some Boeing 737 models, including the NGs and Max. (AP Photo / Ted S. Warren)

According to federal officials, Boeing will pay at least $ 17 million and take steps to fix production issues on its 737 jets, including the Max.

The Federal Aviation Administration announced Thursday that the deal includes installing unapproved sensors and other parts on some Boeing 737 NG and 737 Max aircraft built between 2015 and 2019.

While the deal isn’t a huge sum for Boeing – the company had sales of $ 15 billion in 2020, a year less – it is the latest black eye for the legendary American manufacturer. Boeing is still struggling to recover from two fatal crashes that left the Max jets long grounded around the world and other issues that plagued the Max and other models of aircraft.

The FAA said Boeing will pay the $ 17 million civil penalty within 30 days and could face additional fines of around $ 10 million for failing to take steps, including preventing use approved parts. The FAA said Boeing also needs to analyze whether the company and its suppliers are ready to safely increase production rates for the 737.

A Boeing spokesman said the company had “completely resolved” the problems in its production system and supply chain. “We continue to devote time and resources to improving safety and quality performance in all of our operations,” including ensuring that employees comply with regulatory requirements, the spokesman said.

The comparison covers issues previously identified by the FAA. The agency had proposed a $ 19.7 million fine for Boeing’s use of unapproved sensors on nearly 800 aircraft and $ 9.3 million for installing unapproved wing plates on more than 300 aircraft, including Max -Jets and an older 737 model called the NG. The wing panels provide additional lift on takeoff and landing, and those made by a Boeing contractor failed a quality test.

In January, Boeing agreed to pay $ 2.5 billion to avoid possible criminal prosecution if regulators are deceived about the Max’s safety. It faces lawsuits from families of passengers who were killed in the Max accidents.

Since the FAA cleared the Max for return to flight late last year, more than 100 newly built units have been idle due to an electrical ground problem on some cockpit equipment. Boeing also delayed delivery of the larger 787 jet for several months due to a faulty connection between the panels of the carbon fiber fuselage.

This month, two heads of the House Transportation Committee said they are asking Boeing and the FAA for more information on these recent issues.

Shares in Chicago-based Boeing Co. rose 3% in midday trading after its largest client, Southwest Airlines’ CEO, said the airline had room to add nearly 500 new aircraft in the coming years. Gary Kelly, CEO of Southwest, told The Dallas Morning News that the airline will need more planes after adding new destinations and restoring its network following the slowdown in the coronavirus pandemic that hit travel last year.

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