PhotoAs you settle into your cramped coach seat for the holiday flight home, consider this: Boeing will pay $12 million in fines for quality control and supplier oversight shortcomings. It faces an additional $24 million if it doesn't make all the improvements agreed to in the settlement.

“It is imperative that everyone complies with our aviation system’s high safety standards,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx. “This agreement is an important step toward ensuring that Boeing fully meets all applicable compliance standards going forward.”

Boeing has agreed to a series of steps that are supposed to improve "early discovery and self-disclosure of potential regulatory compliance problems, as well as the timely development and implementation of effective corrective actions," the FAA said. 

“Compliance requires all certificate holders to develop and implement internal controls that ensure they’re operating according to the highest standards,” said FAA Administrator Michael Huerta. “Boeing has agreed to implement improvements in its design, planning, production and maintenance planning processes, and has already implemented several of these improvements.”

Boeing said many of the improvements it agreed to have already been implemented.

"This agreement reflects Boeing's deep and shared commitment to safety, quality and compliance – a commitment that has helped make travel on large commercial airplanes the safest means of transportation in history," the company said. "Boeing believes that this agreement not only fairly resolves announced and potential civil penalty actions – most of which date back years, and two of which were previously announced in 2012 and 2013 – but also will further enhance Boeing's self-correcting quality and compliance systems."

Internal controls

The FAA did not say that Boeing had created unsafe conditions but highlighted the importance of stengthening internal controls and oversight of contractors and suppliers. 

The agreement settles two "initiated cases" and 11 other matters that were opened during the last several years, the FAA said. 

The first initiated case involved BCA’s tardiness in developing information for the installation of fuel tank flammability reduction equipment on Boeing 747 and 757 aircraft. The second initiated case involved the company’s insufficient corrective action after discovering that a supplier had been providing incorrectly shaped fasteners. 

The other matters involved allegations of delays in submitting required safety information, production quality control problems, and failures to implement corrective actions for those production problems.

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