The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration is recommending another safety fix for Boeing Co.’s grounded 737 Max jet, adding a new hurdle as the U.S. planemaker pushes to return the grounded plane to service.
The proposed order would require inspection and possible replacement of a metallic lining that protects wiring from lightning strikes, the regulator said Tuesday in the Federal Register. The directive was prompted by the risk that both engines could be shut down if panels shielding the wiring aren’t properly bonded.
While the cost is estimated to be manageable, the proposal adds another task to the to-do list before the Max can start flying again. The FAA estimated that each inspection would cost only $425 and take five work hours. Each modification -- if needed -- would cost about $595 apiece and take as much as seven hours.
Boeing is already inspecting more than 400 undelivered jets for debris such as tools or rags left in the fuel tank. The company found such debris in 35 of 50 inspected planes as of the end of last week, the Wall Street Journal reported.
The Journal reported earlier on the FAA’s new call for inspections of the lightning-protection equipment. Boeing doesn’t expect the issue to affect the timing of the Max’s anticipated return to service around the middle of this year, the newspaper said.