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“Boeing Alert: Don’t Ignore ‘Loose Bolt’ Possibility on 737 Max Planes!

Boeing has recently urged airlines to check 737 Max planes for possible loose bolts that could impede their operation. This news comes amidst the ongoing process of re-certifying the 737 Max between Boeing and the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). The issue was discovered in late December when technicians were conducting assembly work on a new plane. A large number of bolts were found to be loose, as well as damaged, leading Boeing to investigate further and determine the cause. Several constituents, including federal regulators, airlines, and Boeing’s own supply chain, have been in discussions with the company on how to address the issue. The loose bolts could cause an issue with the 737 Max’s flight control systems, which are highly automated and crucial to the safe operation of the plane. As a result, the FAA is requiring airlines to inspect the affected planes for safety issues. The inspection process includes visual examination of the planes and running various tests to determine if the bolts are loose, the effects of any looseness on the control systems, and how to fix them. Boeing has noted that no safety-related incidents have been reported in relation to the loose bolts, but that it is taking action out of caution. The company released a statement saying that the importance of safety and ensuring the 737 Max’s recertification “cannot be overstated” and that airworthiness is its top priority. Several airlines have already begun inspecting their planes, including Southwest Airlines, American Airlines, and United Airlines. The inspections are expected to be completed within two weeks. The 737 Max was previously grounded in March of 2019 following two fatal crashes that left hundreds dead. Boeing has since been working on a series of updates to the plane’s flight control systems in order to ensure its safe operation. This latest issue regarding the loose bolts is the latest in a long list of issues that the company and the FAA have had to address before the plane can be recertified. Though Boeing has taken steps to ensure airlines begin inspecting for loose bolts, the FAA’s final decision on the recertification of 737 Max planes is yet to be seen. As an unprecedented number of planes remain grounded until the safety issue is resolved, the potential economic impact of a prolonged delay will no doubt be felt. For now, it’s safe to say that Boeing’s action to address the loose bolts before the recertification process is a wise one – and hopefully it will help get the 737 Max recertified soon.