The Business Times

Boeing grounds some 737 MAX just months after jet's return

Published Fri, Apr 9, 2021 · 09:37 PM

[CHICAGO] Boeing grounded some 737 MAX aircraft to repair a new electrical issue that emerged just months after the jets were cleared to return to the skies.

The Chicago-based manufacturer identified the potential problem on some of its 737 MAX planes and alerted 16 customers that they shouldn't operate the jets until it is addressed. The company said it's working with the Federal Aviation Administration on what it described as a "production issue" that affects a specific group of planes.

"The recommendation is being made to allow for verification that a sufficient ground path exists for a component of the electrical power system," Boeing said Friday in a statement.

Boeing declined to say how many planes were affected. About 20 operators have brought the aircraft back into service after a nearly two-year grounding was lifted starting late last year, indicating the latest glitch will hit most of them. A company spokeswoman said it's premature to estimate how long it will take for the problem to be fixed.

"It could take a matter of hours or a few days," said Jessica Kowal, the spokeswoman. "We will update you when we have additional information." While the issue isn't related to the flight-control system that was at the centre of the earlier grounding, it takes the luster off a comeback story that has been developing in recent weeks. Last month, Boeing secured a bumper commitment for its 737 MAX from Southwest Airlines, which had publicly flirted with Airbus SE's A220, a smaller single-aisle jet.

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.

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It was cleared to fly again by US regulators in November, with Europe and most other major markets following suit.

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