Boeing company has identified a potential electrical issue with its 737 Max jet and alerted 16 customers with the affected serial numbers that they shouldn’t be operated until it is addressed.
The plane manufacturer said in a statement that it is making the recommendation “to allow for verification that a sufficient ground path exists for a component of the electrical power system.”
The company said it’s working with the United States Federal Aviation Administration on what it described as a “production issue” that affects a specific group of planes, not the entire fleet.
The FAA said in a statement on Twitter that it will “ensure the issue is addressed,” and advises passengers to contact airlines about flight delays and cancellations.
While the issue isn’t related to the flight-control system that was at the center of the jet’s nearly two-year grounding, it takes the luster off a comeback story that has developed over the first three months of the year.
In March, Boeing secured a bumper commitment for the 737 Max from Southwest Airlines Co., which had publicly flirted with Airbus SE’s A220, a smaller single-aisle jet.
In addition to the newly revealed production issue afflicting the Max, Boeing has been contending with a separate manufacturing flaw on another model, the 787 Dreamliner. Deliveries of the Dreamliner restarted last month after a five-month drought while the company inspected and repaired tiny wrinkles in the inner lining of the planes’ carbon-fiber barrels.
About 20 operators are conducting about 400 daily flights, according to a separate memo. Those include American Airlines Group Inc., United Airlines Holdings Inc. and Southwest, the largest 737 operator.
A spokeswoman for Boeing Jessica Kowal said it’s premature to estimate how long it will take for the problem to be fixed.
The Max, Boeing’s latest generation of the decades-old single-aisle workhorse, was grounded after two crashes five months apart in Indonesia and Ethiopia in 2018 and 2019, in which 346 people were killed.
It was cleared to fly again by U.S. regulators in November, with Europe and most other major markets following suit.