FAA seeks $2.75 million quality control penalty for Boeing unit

Fri Jul 26, 2013 6:14pm EDT
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By Alwyn Scott and Doug Palmer

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The Federal Aviation Administration on Friday said it proposed penalizing Boeing's commercial airplane unit $2.75 million for taking nearly two years to fix a problem with fasteners on its 777 widebody airplanes.

The penalty was unusual in its size and for the fact that it comes nearly three years after Boeing said it addressed the FAA's concerns, which stem from 2008. The FAA regularly imposes smaller penalties for rule violations, but multimillion-dollar amounts are far less frequent.

The action came as Boeing's (BA.N: Quote) 787 Dreamliner aircraft has suffered a series of mishaps in recent weeks, including a spontaneous fire on an Ethiopian Airlines-owned 787 that was parked at a remote stand at London's Heathrow Airport.

"Safety is our top priority and a robust quality control system is a vital part of maintaining the world's safest air transportation system," U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx said in a statement announcing the action.

"Airplane manufacturers must take prompt and thorough steps to correct safety and compliance problems once they become aware of them," Foxx said.

Boeing said it took corrective action and closed the matter in November 2010 and is working with the FAA to "understand and address any remaining concerns."

Boeing said its actions included greater management oversight, a database for tracking issues and regular meetings with the FAA to ensure any open cases were closed on time.

STEMS FROM 2008   Continued...