When Will The Boeing 737 Max Return To Service: Debris Found in new jets

Boeing said that it found debris in fuel tanks of several new 737 Max planes which were in storage, awaiting delivery after the ban will be lifted.

Boeing 737 MAX
Debris Found in new Boeing 737 Max in storage Photo: Reuters

Boeing’s 737 MAX programme head told employees that the discovery of “Foreign Object Debris” inside the fuel tanks of some of the aircraft was “absolutely unacceptable.”

What’s the issue?

Boeing found debris on the wing fuel tanks of aircraft during routine inspections at Boeing facilities in Washington state and Texas. Boeing did not say how many of the stored planes had discovered debris in the fuel tanks.

Boeing ordered to inspect all the 737 Max planes which are currently in storage awaiting deliveries after this incident. Boeing currently has over 400 737 Max aircraft in storage.

The aircraft has been grounded since March last year, following two deadly crashes killing a total of 346 people on board. However, Boeing continued to build them until last month.

Will this affect the return date?

However, the manufacturer said that the company did not see this issue further delaying the jet’s return to service. The company is confident that its problemed aircraft will safely return back in service before mid-2020 after performing all necessary tests and certifications.

Boeing 737 MAX
Over 400 Boeing 737 Max are in Boeing’s storage

The FAA could still re-certify the aircraft before midyear, however the date has not been confirmed yet. 

“While conducting maintenance we discovered Foreign Object Debris in undelivered 737 Max airplanes currently in storage. That finding led to robust internal investigation and immediate corrective actions in our production system.” Boeing representative told the BBC.

Boeing said that it will inspect the issue along with additional verifications including inspections and audits. 

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), said BBC, “The FAA is aware that Boeing is conducting a voluntary inspection of undelivered aircraft for Foreign Object Debris as part of the company’s ongoing efforts to ensure manufacturing quality.”

Boeing 737 MAX
Boeing did not disclose how many aircraft were affected

FAA also said that it had increased its surveillance based on initial inspection reports and will take further action based on the findings.

What is a Debris?

Foreign Object Debris is any substance that isn’t the part of a plane. It might be scattered pieces of rubbish or remains which may potentially lead to damages.

Debris on a completed aircraft awaiting delivery is a serious quality problem that can pose significant safety threats during operation, including short circuits and other technical issues.

Is this issue new to Boeing?

However, Boeing is not new to this issue. It is a problem that has affected the manufacturer in the past. The US Air Force temporarily suspended the deliveries of the KC-46 Pegasus military refueling tankers twice last year after debris was found in closed compartment of the aircraft.

Boeing 787
Similar issue was found on 787 Dreamliners

Some tools and rags also were reported to be found in its 787 Dreamliners.

Do you think the 737 Max will return into service by mid-year?

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