Boeing Under Fire: FAA Audit Finds Quality Control Issues

The Boeing Company, one of the most storied names in aviation, faces one of the most challenging periods in its history. A series of incidents involving its aircraft, coupled with a recent Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) audit and a Department of Justice (DOJ) investigation, have raised serious questions about the company’s commitment to safety and quality control.

The FAA Audit and Findings

The latest wave of scrutiny began with a frightening incident in January. A door panel blew off a Boeing 737 Max 9 during an Alaska Airlines flight without causing serious injuries. This incident led the FAA to initiate a six-week comprehensive audit of Boeing’s production facilities and processes, mainly focusing on the 737 Max series.

The findings, according to a New York Times report, were alarming. Of the 89 product audits conducted, Boeing failed 33, indicating a nearly 37% failure rate. The audit highlighted significant issues, including failure to follow approved manufacturing processes and inadequate quality control documentation. This scrutiny extended to one of Boeing’s key suppliers, Spirit AeroSystems, which also showed a concerning non-compliance rate in the audits.

The DOJ Criminal Investigation

In a parallel development, the DOJ launched a criminal investigation into the January door panel incident, as the Wall Street Journal reported. The focus of the investigation is to determine whether Boeing complied with the terms of a previous settlement related to the safety of its 737 Max aircraft, which followed two catastrophic crashes in 2018 and 2019.

Additional Incidents and Quality Control Issues

Adding to Boeing’s troubles, a recent incident on a LATAM Airlines flight from Sydney to Auckland, operated by a Boeing 787 Dreamliner, resulted in dozens of injuries when the plane experienced a sudden drop. This incident, currently under investigation, once again puts the spotlight on Boeing’s safety record.

Moreover, the FAA has flagged safety issues with engine anti-ice systems on both the 737 Max and the larger 787 Dreamliner. While these models continue to fly, the regulator has given Boeing a deadline to address these and other issues raised in the federal audit.

Boeing’s Response

In the face of these challenges, Boeing has expressed its commitment to addressing the issues. The company has promised to implement immediate changes and develop a comprehensive action plan to strengthen its safety and quality protocols. “We are squarely focused on taking significant, demonstrated action with transparency at every turn,” Boeing stated in a response to CNBC.

Industry and Regulatory Response

The aviation industry and regulatory bodies are watching Boeing closely. The FAA’s demand for a detailed plan to fix quality issues within 90 days reflects the situation’s urgency. Meanwhile, industry experts and analysts are debating the impact of these developments on Boeing’s future, particularly regarding customer trust and market share.

Critics: A Shift from Safety to Profits

Boeing’s current predicament is set against a backdrop of intensified competition in the aerospace sector and growing concerns about aviation safety globally. Critics argue that Boeing’s focus has shifted from engineering and innovation toward financial performance, possibly at the expense of safety and quality.

Boeing Under Fire After Series of Incidents

The series of incidents and investigations mark a critical juncture for Boeing. The company faces the dual challenge of rectifying immediate safety and quality control issues while restoring trust among regulators, customers, and the public. How Boeing navigates these challenges will have significant implications for its future and, more broadly, the aviation industry’s commitment to safety and reliability.


Alexandrea Sumuel is a nationally syndicated travel writer and founder of the Wander With Alex travel blog. Her work has appeared on MSN, YAHOO!, Euronews, and FOX, ABC, and NBC affiliates across the United States. 

Alex travels to experience, eat, explore, and occasionally escape! She collaborates with destinations, vacation property management companies, and hospitality technology firms to provide her readers with exclusive insights and information.