Just as Boeing has been beefing up its supply chain with new hires and attempting to restart 737 Max production by mid-year, the FAA is poised to require electrical wiring issues, first discovered back in December, to be fixed before the planes can return to the sky, The Wall Street Journal reported on Sunday evening.
Sources told the Journal that FAA managers and engineers have concluded that the layout of the Max's wiring violates wiring-safety standards. The current configuration, under extreme conditions, could cause a short-circuit in the plane's flight-control systems and lead to a crash, similar to what happened with two Max jets that killed 346 people.
A preliminary decision, which has yet to be finalized, could require the Chicago plane maker to fix electrical issues on 800 Max airlines already produced. The sources said Boeing has argued with FAA managers about the wiring setup and how it satisfies international safety standards.
The emergence of the electrical issues, and the likely need for Boeing to reroute the wires, comes as the FAA has delayed flight tests for the Max's flight control system, known as Maneuvering Characteristics Augmentation System (MCAS).
The Journal notes that Boeing has already planned on several ways to reroute the wires and will likely accept the FAA's position on the issue.
More issues for Max jets developed last month when an internal Boeing report found dozens of jets had foreign-object debris (FOD) in the fuel tanks.
Airlines have been aware of the new setbacks and pushed out MAX return to service dates to late summer and or even fall.
Southwest said it is extending its MAX flight cancellations through August 20, the largest US airline (by available seat miles) United Airlines, also said it was pulling the MAX from its schedule until September.
Sources were unclear if wiring adjustments in the 800 Max jets would lead to production restart and or flight test delays.
Boeing shares are collapsing further on the news, and the broad market, down almost 10%...