Boeing grounds some 737 Max aircraft over electrical issue

Potential problem comes just months after jets were cleared for return to service

The Chicago-based manufacturer identified the potential problem and alerted 16 customers that they should not operate the 737 Max jets until it is addressed. Photograph: Cooper Neill/AFP via Getty

The Chicago-based manufacturer identified the potential problem and alerted 16 customers that they should not operate the 737 Max jets until it is addressed. Photograph: Cooper Neill/AFP via Getty

 

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 jets 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 jets.

“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 on Friday in a statement.

Boeing declined to say how many jets were affected. About 20 operators brought the aircraft back into service after a nearly two-year grounding was lifted late last year, indicating the latest glitch will hit most of them.

A company spokeswoman said it is 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. “We will update you when we have additional information.”

Spotlight

While the issue isn’t related to the flight-control system that was at the centre of the earlier grounding, it takes the spotlight 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.

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