Boeing discovers debris in 737 MAX fuel tanks

Andrew Cummings
February 20, 2020

Boeing has vowed to tighten controls after potentially risky debris was found in fuel tanks of undelivered 737 MAX aircraft, a plane that has been grounded worldwide following two deadly crashes.

United States airplane manufacturer Boeing (BA) had a fresh setback with its fleet of grounded 737 MAX aircraft this week, after discovering debris in the fuel tanks of several of the new planes being stored for delivery to customers.

"That finding led to a robust internal investigation and immediate corrective actions in our production system". Those steps include more inspections before fuel tanks are sealed. The company, which has indefinitely halted Max production, plans to hold additional inspections, audits and checks in its "tank closure process" to ensure that nothing is left within fuel tanks, he added.

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A Boeing spokesman confirmed the memo's authenticity, and said Boeing does not see the debris as contributing to delays in the jet's return to service.

According to CNN, vice-president and 737 program general manager Mark Jenks issued a note to employees stressing that foreign object debris "is absolutely unacceptable".

An FAA spokesman said the agency knew Boeing was conducting a voluntary inspection of undelivered MAX planes.

It is less than a year since the second fatal crash of a Boeing 737 Max resulted in the grounding of the model's entire global fleet and the company is racing to recertify with regulators that the planes can fly safely. One escape is one too many. Material left in planes during assembly can raise the risk of electrical short-circuiting and fires.

The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

A Boeing official said the debris was discovered in "several" planes but did not give a precise number.

Embattled US aviation giant Boeing is facing another issue with its grounded 737 MAX series, as the aeroplane manufacturer works to get the aircraft series in the air again.

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