Boeing has informed the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) that certain 737 Next-Generation aircraft and 737 MAX leading edge slat tracks may have been improperly manufactured. As a result, these may not meet regulatory requirements for strength and durability.
In a statement issued by the FAA on June 2, it said that an investigation conducted by the manufacturer and the FAA’s Certificate Management Office has determined that up to 148 parts produced by a Boeing sub-tier supplier are involved. It went on to confirm that Boeing has identified groups of both variants as well as serial numbers on which these suspect parts may have been installed. These include 32 NG and 33 MAX aircraft delivered to US airlines, while globally 133 NG and 179 MAX jets are thought to be affected.
Boeing said these parts may be susceptible to premature failure or cracking resulting from the improper manufacturing process. It added: “Although a complete failure of a leading-edge slat track would not result in the loss of the aircraft, a risk remains that a failed part could lead to damage in flight.”
The FAA has issued an Airworthiness Directive to mandate Boeing’s service actions to remove the suspect parts from service, with operators required to perform the action within ten days. The FAA has also alerted international civil aviation authorities of this condition and required actions.