Certification of grounded Boeing 737 Max is expected to stretch longer than expected with the new discovery of a flaw that could have played a major role in two fatal crashes.
The Federal Aviation Administration and Boeing are reviewing whether the two bundles of critical wiring at the tail of the plane are too close together and if it could cause a short circuit.
Two fatal crashes of the 737 Max which killed 346 people in October 2018 and March 2019 involving Lion Air and Ethiopian Airlines respectively saw the jetliner grounded worldwide in March.
The crashes were linked to a fault with the MCAS system.
However, in December, Boeing carried out another internal audit concurrently with the FAA in efforts to bring back Boeing 737 Max back to the air.
The latest reports from the company indicate that the company has identified a new safety risk touching on two wiring bundles at the tail wing of the 737 max.
According to engineers at the company, the bundles of cabling system at the tail are too close and could possibly be a safety risk besides the software hitch that was blamed for the downing of the two planes that caused 346 lives.
According to one of the people familiar with Boeing and the Boeing engineer, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, Boeing has informed the F.A.A. about the potential vulnerability last month, and the company’s new chief executive David Calhoun who is expected to assume office on January 13th has discussed possible changes to the wiring.
The emergence of new troubles with Max threatens to extend a crisis that is consuming one of America’s most influential companies and disrupting the global aviation business.
The Max is Boeing’s most important plane, with about 5,000 ordered by airlines around the world.
But as the grounding has dragged on, Boeing said it would temporarily shut down its 737 factories, jolting thousands of suppliers and stoking the concern of President Donald Trump.
Wiring concerns at the tail of the jetliner will likely make it difficult for pilots to respond to emergencies while flying.
The crisis led to the sacking of CEO Dennis Muilenburg in December last year.