In this September 2020 photo, a Boeing 737 Max jet, piloted by Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) chief Steve Dickson, prepares to land at Boeing Field following a test flight in Seattle. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson, File)

In this September 2020 photo, a Boeing 737 Max jet, piloted by Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) chief Steve Dickson, prepares to land at Boeing Field following a test flight in Seattle. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson, File)

Boeing: possible electrical issue in some 737 Max aircraft

The company said that the new problem was unrelated to the flight-control system.

By David Koenig and Michelle Chapman / Associated Press

Airlines pulled dozens of Boeing Max 737s out of service for inspections after the aircraft maker told them about a possible electrical problem, the latest setback for plane.

Boeing said Friday that the issue affected planes used by 16 airlines, and that it recommended inspections before the planes fly again.

The Max was grounded worldwide in March 2019 after two crashes killed 346 people. Regulators in the U.S., Europe, Canada and Brazil cleared the plane to resume flying in recent months after Boeing changed an automated flight-control system that played a role in the crashes.

Boeing said Friday that the electrical issue was unrelated to the flight-control system. It did not say how many planes are affected or how long it will take for inspections and, if necessary, repairs.

Southwest Airlines, which began flying the Max again last month, said it removed 30 of its 58 Max jets from its schedule to inspect them. Southwest spokesman Brian Parrish said the airline has not experienced any known problems related to the electrical issue.

Southwest has a fleet of more than 700 Boeing 737s, most of them older models than the Max. Parish said the airline will use other planes to operate flights that had been scheduled with Max jet, and it anticipates only minimal disruption to its operation.

American Airlines temporarily removed 17 of its 41 Max planes from service, according to a memo to employees. Boeing traced the issue to a production change made after the worldwide fleet of Max jets was grounded in 2019, American’s chief operating officer, David Seymour, said in the memo.

“We will never knowingly operate an aircraft with a known or potential issue,” Seymour said.

American was the first U.S. airline to resume flying the Max, in late December.

United Airlines said it temporarily grounded 16 of its 30 Max planes and will try to operate all flights with its other planes. The airline said it was in contact with Boeing and federal regulators to determine what steps are needed before the planes can return to service.

Alaska Airlines said it removed all four of its Max jets from service “to allow for inspections and for work to be done.”

Boeing said that it is working closely with the Federal Aviation Administration on the matter.

Since the Max crashes, Boeing has made internal changes in response to accusations that it short-changed safety in pursuit of profits. Lawyers suing Boeing over the crashes seized on the latest problem with the planes.

“This grounding calls into question the safety of the Max and why Boeing’s claims of a ‘changed culture’ continue to ring hollow,” said Steven Marks, one of the lawyers representing relatives of passengers who were on board an Ethiopian Airlines Max that crashed in March 2019. “We don’t know what other issues exist.”

Talk to us

More in Herald Business Journal

Students use a modular skills trainer during class Thursday morning at Edmonds Community College on April 29, 2021.
(Kevin Clark / The Herald)
Nurses Week, from May 6- 12, honors the nation’s caregivers

Local nursing students and faculty say they couldn’t let the pandemic get in the way of their goals.

The Waterfront Place Apartments north building at the Port of Everett’s Waterfront Place cold see residents moving in by May 15. on Thursday, April 22, 2021 in Everett, Washington. (Andy Bronson / The Herald)
Now playing at the Port of Everett: sudden density

New Waterfront Place Apartments open May 15 at the port — local retailers welcome the influx.

Highland Simulant, a simulated lunar soil made by Off Planet Research, pours from a researcher's hands. Photo credit: Off Planet Research
Space company makes a soft landing at the Port of Everett

Off Planet Research creates simulated lunar soils here, so that moon landers can touch down gently.

Owners Krista and Eric Brown sit among rows of wines at The Grape & Grain, a new independent beer and wine store on Evergreen Way, on Wednesday, April 28, 2021 in Everett, Washington.  (Andy Bronson / The Herald)
New Everett wine and beer shop focuses on local brands

The Grape & Grain store offers wine and beer from “our backyard” — Washington, Oregon and California.

Chai Cupboard is a new loose tea and spice shop downtown, owned by Jeni Ellis and husband Tim, on Thursday, April 22, 2021 in Everett, Washington. (Andy Bronson / The Herald)
New downtown Everett store offers loose tea and spices

Bring your tea caddy or spice jar: Chai Cupboard carries more than 100 teas and 100 spices.

Indian drink condiments cartoon vector illustration. Traditional beverage flavourings in wooden bowls flat color object. Tea additives, hot drink ingredients isolated on white background
You voted: The best Indian food in Snohomish County

Even during a pandemic, people still have their favorites.

FILE - In this Feb. 14, 2019, file photo, people stand in the lobby for Amazon offices in New York. Amazon, which has been under pressure from shoppers, brands and lawmakers to crack down on counterfeits on its site, said Monday, May 10, 2021, that it blocked more than 10 billion suspected phony listings last year before any of their offerings could be sold. (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan, File)
Amazon blocked 10 billion listings in counterfeit crackdown

Scammers tried to take advantage of shoppers who were buying more online during the pandemic.

A Mexican tacos food truck, people ordering and waiting their takeaway food
You voted: The best food truck in Snohomish County

Even during a pandemic, people still have their favorites.

One of the Jetty Island ferry captains waits for boarders as the ferry begins operations for the summer on Wednesday, Jul. 6, 2016 in Everett, Wa. (Andy Bronson / The Herald)
Port, county to pay Everett for Jetty Island ferry this year

The Port of Everett and Snohomish County plan to make an online system for $3 reservations.

Boeing crash victims’ families push for changes at FAA

Hundreds are demanding the ouster of the agency’s administrator, Stephen Dickson, and others.

fish and chips cartoon
You voted: The best fish and chips in Snohomish County

Even during a pandemic, people still have their favorites.

An artist’s rendering of the Amazon distribution center at the Cascade Industrial Center in Arlington.
A tax break used by Arlington, Marysville goes statewide

It’s helped land businesses in Cascade Industrial Center. Soon every city will get a chance to try it.