Boeing 737 Max airplanes sit parked in a storage lot April 26 near Boeing Field in Seattle. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)

Boeing 737 Max airplanes sit parked in a storage lot April 26 near Boeing Field in Seattle. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)

Boeing to pay $17 million to settle plane production issues

The penalty covers the installation of unapproved sensors on some Boeing 737 NG and 737 Max planes.

Associated Press

Federal officials say Boeing will pay at least $17 million and take steps to fix production problems on its 737 jets including the Max.

The Federal Aviation Administration said Thursday that the settlement covers the installation of unapproved sensors and other parts on some Boeing 737 NG and 737 Max planes built between 2015 and 2019.

The settlement, while not a large sum for Boeing — the company had $15 billion in revenue in 2020, a down year — is the latest black eye for the iconic American manufacturer. Boeing is still struggling to recover from two deadly crashes that led to a long grounding of Max jets worldwide and other problems that have plagued the Max and other aircraft models.

The FAA said Boeing will pay the $17 million civil penalty within 30 days and could be hit with up to $10.1 million in additional fines if it fails to take steps including preventing the use of unapproved parts. The FAA said Boeing also must analyze whether the company and its suppliers are ready to safely raise production rates for the 737.

Boeing said it “fully resolved” the problems in its production system and supply chain. “We continue to devote time and resources to improving safety and quality performance across our operations,” including ensuring that employees comply with regulatory requirements, the company said in a statement.

Shares of Chicago-based Boeing Co. rose 3% in morning trading after the CEO of its largest customer, Southwest Airlines, said the airline has room to add nearly 500 new planes in the coming years. Southwest CEO Gary Kelly told The Dallas Morning News that the airline will need more planes after adding new destinations and restoring its network after the coronavirus pandemic slowdown that hit travel last year.

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