New problems ground Boeing's 737 Max carriers

Photo: AP

New production problems were found on the troubled Boeing's 737 Max carriers, BBC reported. Some 100 planes from 24 companies worldwide were grounded after electrical problems were dicovered last month. Deliveries of many more new aircraft have been suspended. Boeing and the US regulator, the Federal Aviation Administration said they were working closely to address the issue. The new problems come less than six months after Boeing's 737 Max was cleared to fly again by US regulators.

According to Boeing and the FAA, the latest problems first became apparent during testing of a newly manufactured 737 Max 8, which had yet to be delivered to its owner. It was found that electrical power systems on the aircraft were not working correctly. The fault was traced to poor electrical bonding, where panel assemblies that were also intended to conduct electricity and form part of a connection with the frame of the aircraft were not doing so effectively. This means that some components on the plane, including the pilots' main instrument panel and a standby power control unit, were improperly earthed.

According to the FAA, this could potentially "affect the operation of certain systems, including engine ice protection, and result in loss of critical functions and/or multiple simultaneous flight deck effects, which may prevent continued safe flight and landing". The flaw, then, was a dangerous one. The FAA was worried that over time other aircraft, which were already in service, could develop the same condition.

However, this problem seemed not to be linked to flaws with the errant flight control software - known as MCAS - that triggered the loss of two planes, in Indonesia and Ethiopia, claiming the lives of 346 people.

The allegation that Boeing prioritised profit over safety in the run up to the two accidents is not new - and indeed was made by prosecutors when announcing a $2.5bn settlement with the aerospace giant earlier this year. The company says it has learned many lessons as a result of the Ethiopian Airlines flight ET302 and Lion Air 610 accidents. It says it has "made fundamental changes" and continues "to look for ways to improve".

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