Safety: FAA orders airlines to inspect 11,817 Boeing 737 jets over switch failure

*Report indicates if those switches fail or malfunction, they could potentially lead to immobilising everyone aboard, including the passengers, flight crew and pilots

*Safety is our highest priority, and we fully support the FAA’s direction, says Boeing

Gbenga Kayode | ConsumerConnect

International airlines and United States (US) Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), again, have another Boeing 737 technical issue to deal with to further enhance global aviation safety.

ConsumerConnect learnt the country’s aviation regulatory agency Friday, July 16, 2021, mandated urgent inspections of about 11,817 of Boeing airplanes due to concerns with cabin altitude switches.

Cabin altitude switches are described as the mechanism that keeps the cabins adequately pressurised during a flight.

When Boeing took a look at the issue in 2020, it came to the conclusion that it did not pose a crucial safety risk, agency report said.

However, when the same failure re-occurred, both Boeing and the FAA reversed their stance, which is said to be for a good reason.

If those switches fail or malfunction, it could potentially lead to immobilising everyone aboard, including the passengers, flight crew and pilots, according to report.

It was gathered that altogether, 11,817 of Boeing’s 737 jets could be impacted, with 2,502 airplanes registered in the United States, and 9,315 others across the world.

Though the FAA has no legal authority on aircraft that do not fly in or out of the US, agency report has suggested that it is likely the order will also be rubber-stamped by aviation agencies worldwide.

The FAA is requiring that the switches be tested within 2,000 flight hours from the time the last test was administered, before airplanes have flown 2,000 hours, or within 90 days of the order’s effective date, said a separate report from Reuters.

Safety is our highest priority, says Boeing

As the switch issue is yet another challenge for Boeing to deal with, at least travellers who fly on American, United, and Southwest, all the US airlines that use 737s, can feel that their safety is not at stake, according to the aircraft manufacturer.

Boeing said in a statement: “Safety is our highest priority and we fully support the FAA’s direction, which makes mandatory the inspection interval that we issued to the fleet in June.”

One other tidbit that might give fliers some comfort, according to Boeing, is that these switches are not the same ones cited in the Ethiopian and Lion Air 737 Max crashes.

It stated in a report when the incidents happened, that those were stabilizer trim switches.

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