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FAA's Boeing, Spirit Audit Finds Multiple Quality Issues, Hits 737 MAX Production

(RTTNews) - The Federal Aviation Administration or FAA announced that its production audit of Boeing Co. and Spirit AeroSystems, following the January 5 incident involving a new, Boeing 737-9 MAX aircraft, identified multiple quality control lapses.

The FAA has halted production expansion of the Boeing 737 MAX with a view to holding Boeing accountable for its production quality issues. The agency is exploring the use of a third party to conduct independent reviews of quality systems.

The FAA said it will continue its increased onsite presence at Boeing's facility in Renton, Washington, and Spirit AeroSystems' facility in Wichita, Kansas.

The developments follows the early January mid-flight incident with Alaska Airlines' Boeing 737-9 MAX airplane, in which a mid-cabin door plug blew out in the middle of the flight.

Following the incident, the federal regulator had grounded around 171 737 MAX 9 airplanes for inspections, and also started a probe into Boeing's manufacturing practices and production lines, including those involving subcontractor Spirit AeroSystems.

As part of its additional actions to heighten safety measures, the regulator also said then that it would not grant any production expansion of Boeing's MAX, including the 737-9 MAX, with a view to improving quality control.

In the latest six-week audit, one of the immediate oversight actions that was taken following the incident, the FAA said its investigators found that the companies allegedly failed to comply with manufacturing quality control requirements. There were non-compliance issues in Boeing's manufacturing process control, parts handling and storage, and product control.

In its latest statement, the agency revealed the details to the public as an update to the agency's ongoing investigation.

On February 28, FAA Administrator Mike Whitaker informed Boeing President and CEO Dave Calhoun and other officials that the company must develop a comprehensive corrective action plan to address the audit's findings and to fix systemic quality-control issues.

Following this, Calhoun stated that Boeing will develop the comprehensive action plan with measurable criteria that demonstrates the profound change that Administrator Whitaker and the FAA demand.

The FAA has given Boeing 90 days to outline its action plan. The agency also said it will thoroughly review all of Boeing's corrective actions to determine if they fully address its findings.

The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

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