"Manufacturers must make it a priority to identify and correct quality problems in a timely manner," Michael Huerta, Federal Aviation Administrator, said in a statement Friday.
The FAA said that Boeing discovered in September 2008 that it had been installing faulty fasteners on 777 aircraft. At the FAA's request, Boeing submitted plans to correct the problem. The FAA alleges that Boeing did not implement those plans until two years later, in November 2010.
Boeing has stopped using the defective fasteners. But the FAA says the "underlying manufacturing issues continued to exist until after the corrective action plan was in place."
Boeing has 30 days to respond to the penalty.
The company is working closely with the FAA to address remaining concerns, according to an emailed statement from Elizabeth Fischtziur, spokeswoman for the 777 program. Boeing said it takes the safety of its products very seriously.
To address the fastener problem, "we implemented an enhanced corrective action management system that includes a robust database for tracking issues, additional management oversight and a series of regular meetings with the FAA," Boeing said in the statement.