Troubled aircraft manufacturer Boeing has found more electrical problems in the flight deck of the 737MAX, just a week after dozens of the planes were temporarily grounded after a “manufacturing issue” was discovered according to sources who claim to be familiar with the matter. Boeing has so far declined to comment.
American Airlines, Southwest and Alaska Airlines were amongst the carriers that were forced to remove some Boeing 737MAX planes from service after an issue with the electrical power system was identified.
The problem is believed to only affect MAX jets that have been delivered since the plane was cleared to fly again after a near two year hiatus following two fatal crashes of the aircraft.
Routine quality checks revealed a potential issue with the standby power-control unit and the aircraft manufacturer was working with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) on a fix.
The FAA said it would not give the green light from the planes to fly again unless it was absolutely satisfied that it was safe. Some airlines, however, believed at the time that a fix could come within a matter of days and that the affected planes would be flying before long.
Since the first problem was identified, Boeing engineers have discovered two other potential issues that arose from a manufacturing change in 2019 according to sources quoted by Aviation Week.
Around a fifth of all operating 737 MAX jets are affected by the current problem with Southwest forced to temporarily remove 30 planes from service. United Airlines has grounded just over half of its current MAX fleet while it awaits a service bulletin from Boeing.
The bulletin, which will include repair instructions that can be carried out by airlines, will first need to be approved by the FAA.
The new problem has arisen just as the demand for travel is starting to rebound and airlines are reactivating all of their grounded planes. Such is the demand for travel that carriers, including United, have removed 737 MAX waivers which had been introduced to restore confidence in the plane.
United does not intend to restore the waiver despite the latest issues.
Mateusz Maszczynski honed his skills as an international flight attendant at the most prominent airline in the Middle East and has been flying throughout the COVID-19 pandemic for a well-known European airline. Matt is passionate about the aviation industry and has become an expert in passenger experience and human-centric stories. Always keeping an ear close to the ground, Matt's industry insights, analysis and news coverage is frequently relied upon by some of the biggest names in journalism.