In the course of the 737 Max grounding, Boeing's safety culture is put under close scrutiny. Apparently that has also been a problem in the past.
The Federal Aviation Authority (FAA) had already argued with Boeing about their safety culture before the two fatal crashes of 737 Max aircraft of Lion Air and Ethiopian Airlines, reports the Washington Post. The newspaper mainly refers to incidents in 2015 and a subsequent agreement between the company and the FAA.
On a trip to Japan in 2015, an FAA employee noticed that a local Boeing supplier had forged certificates for hundreds of Boeing 777 freight doors for years, the paper writes, citing interviews and government documents. During the same year, Boeing technicians had forgotten tools in aircraft wings and improperly wired the Boeing 787 Dreamliner. Recently it became known, that also in 2015, a Boeing 787 was delivered to Air Canada, for which Boeing employees had falsified documents.
Boeing praises package deal for improvement
The FAA had initiated or considered more than a dozen proceedings against Boeing for violations of security regulations during this period according to The Washington Post, citing FAA documents. Since Boeing often promised solutions without delivering them in the end, the FAA chose a different path. Instead of dealing with each individual case, it agreed on a package deal with Boeing at the end of 2015.
The company and the authority signed a five-year settlement agreement. According to that agreement Boeing paid $12 million – approximately 10 percent of today’s list price of a 737 Max 8. The management also agreed to make significant changes to internal security systems and practices.
Ministry of Justice expands investigation
However, in the three and a half years up until September 2018, Boeing failed to meet some of its obligations under the agreement, two informants told the Washington Post. Boeing explained that important steps had been taken to meet the requirements. The FAA though decided last year against an additional fine of $12 million.
The Seattle Times, meanwhile, reports that the US Department of Justice is not only investigating into the certification of the 737 Max, but has now also sent subpoenas in connection with the 787 production in South Carolina. The New York Times had already reported about massive accusations by employees of the Dreamliner production in the state back in April.