FAA completes six-week audit of Boeing and Spirit AeroSystems: results  

Boeing 737 MAX assembly line in Renton
VDB Photos / Shutterstock.com

A six-week audit, carried out by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), of Boeing and Spirit AeroSystems has discovered a number of safety issues.  

The audit was actioned by the FAA after Alaska Airlines flight 1282 suffered a rapid decompression when a left mid-cabin door plug separated from the aircraft at 16,000 feet on January 5, 2024.  

The findings announced by the FAA on March 4, 2024, represent more troubling news for Boeing and its partner Spirit. 

The FAA said that during its audit the agency found “multiple instances where the companies allegedly failed to comply with manufacturing quality control requirements”. 

The FAA identified “non-compliance issues” across Boeing’s manufacturing process control, parts handling and storage, and product control.   

Boeing must respond within 90 days to the FAA’s audit findings, along with an expert review panel report that was published on February 26, 2024, which also cited failings in the planemaker’s processes. 

“To hold Boeing accountable for its production quality issues, the FAA has halted production expansion of the Boeing 737 MAX, is exploring the use of a third party to conduct independent reviews of quality systems and will continue its increased onsite presence at Boeing’s facility in Renton, Washington, and Spirit AeroSystems’ facility in Wichita, Kansas,” the FAA said. 

The agency added: “The FAA will thoroughly review all of Boeing’s corrective actions to determine if they fully address the FAA’s findings.” 

The FAA provided both companies with a summary of the audit findings. 

Boeing and Spirt AeroSystems confirmed on March 1, 2024, that talks have begun to potentially remerge the companies.    

Boeing believes that reintegrating the companies would “strengthen aviation safety”, however both firms admitted that talks were very much in the early stages and that there was no guarantee an agreement could be reached.   

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