Boeing Shares Tumble After FAA Investigation Fails 33 Out Of 89 Audits

Zinger Key Points
  • Boeing supplier Spirit Aerosystems also fails audit tests.
  • Whistleblower giving evidence against Boeing found dead in car.

Boeing Co BA was reported on Tuesday to have failed 33 out of 89 audits carried out by the Federal Aviation Administration following the Alaska Air ALK incident in January in which a door panel blew out of a 737 Max jet.

Share in Boeing fell 4.2% to $184.40 in midday trade in New York after news of the FAA’s findings broke and the stock closed Tuesday’s session at $184.24.

The regulator’s audits exposed a problem with the door plug that was responsible for the January incident. A concurrent audit of Spirit AeroSystems SPR, which supplies Boeing with fuselages, failed seven of 13 tests, including the installation of cockpit windows.

Shares in Spirit lost 7.78%, closing at $31.77.

The FAA has given both companies 30 days in which to respond and suggest an action plan to deal with the findings.

Also on Tuesday, Boeing reported orders and deliveries for February. The company said orders included four 787-9s for Royal Brunei Airlines, 10 737 Max and one 777 freighter. Deliveries included 17 737 Max, 7 Dreamliners and 27 Jetliners.

Also Read: Boeing 737 Max Faces Trust Issues As Passengers Say ‘I Want To Get Off The Plane’ And Refuse To Board Over Fear

Boeing Whistleblower Found Dead

A former Boeing employee who recently provided evidence in a lawsuit against the aerospace company was found dead this weekend in a South Carolina parking lot.

John Barnett, 62, a quality manager at the company, was found dead in his truck in a hotel parking area in Charleston where he had been giving a court evidence against Boeing over the company’s safety standards in its manufacturing processes.

Charleston County’s coroner said Barnett died from what appeared to be a self-inflicted wound on March 9. On Tuesday, it was reported that police were investigating the incident.

Barnett was a 32-year veteran at Boeing, retiring in 2017, and told the court last week that aircraft safety had been compromised under the pressure to complete orders more quickly. He said workers were forced to cut corners and use substandard parts in the manufacturing process.

Issues such as poorly performing oxygen systems and sharp metal offcuts near flight control wiring had been reported to management, but had been ignored, he said.

Barnett had been questioned for seven hours by Boeing lawyers on Thursday, and was cross examined by his own legal team on Friday. He had been due to finish this testimony on Saturday morning, but didn’t show up at court.

After his lawyers failed to make cellphone contact with him, they asked the hotel to check on him. Hotel staff found his body in his truck with a gunshot wound.

Sgt. Anthony Gibson of the Charleston Police Department told local media: “Detectives are actively investigating this case and are awaiting the formal cause of death, along with any additional findings that might shed further light on the circumstances surrounding the death of Mr. Barnett.”

NZ Investigator Seizes Black Box After Boeing Jet ‘Froze’

Boeing was at the center of another controversial incident on Monday after a Boeing 787 operated by Chile’s LATAM Airlines apparently “froze” midflight, dropping sharply and hurling passengers out of their seats.

Around 50 of the 263 passengers had to receive treatment for cuts and broken bones after the flight, departing from Sydney, Australia, arrived in Auckland, New Zealand.

New Zealand’s aviation watchdog, the Transport Accident Investigation Commission (TAIC), said on Tuesday it had seized the black box flight recorder from the aircraft and that it was investigating the incident.

Also Read: Boeing And Spirit AeroSystems Under FAA Scrutiny For Quality Control Violations

Photo via Shutterstock.

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