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FAA is investigating Boeing over inspections of the 787 Dreamliner

The Federal Aviation Administration has opened a new investigation into Boeing after the plane maker told the regulator that it skipped potentially required inspections on the wings of some 787 Dreamliners.

In a statement Monday, the FAA said it learned of the problem from Boeing last month. As part of its investigation, the agency said it was investigating whether company employees may have falsified aircraft records.

The FAA said Boeing was reinspecting all Dreamliners still in production and that the company needed to create a plan for planes already in service.

“As the investigation continues, the FAA will – as always – take all necessary measures to ensure the safety of the flying public,” the statement said.

Boeing did not comment on the agency’s statement, but shared an email about the issue that a senior executive sent last week to employees in South Carolina, where the company makes the Dreamliner. In that statement, the executive said Boeing had determined there was no immediate risk to flight safety.

The investigation adds to the scrutiny Boeing has faced since a door panel on a 737 Max was torn off mid-flight in January, damaging the company’s reputation and drawing the attention of federal regulators. The FAA initiated a separate investigation after this incident, which occurred during an Alaska Airlines flight, and the Department of Justice a criminal investigation was initiated.

The FAA has also confirmed this Investigating claims made by a Boeing whistleblower He says the company has made production cuts on the Dreamliner that could cause the plane’s structure to fail prematurely. The new investigation into inspections is unrelated to the whistleblower’s allegations testified at a Senate hearing Last month.

The issue the FAA is investigating was first identified by a Boeing employee, according to last week’s email. The message’s author, Scott Stocker, who leads the 787 program, said an investigation into the employee’s concerns found that “several” workers skipped required tests but logged them as completed.

Mr. Stocker said Boeing was taking “swift and serious” steps to address the workers’ behavior and had immediately notified the FAA of the findings. He also praised the employee for raising the concerns in the first place. “It is critically important that each of us speak up when we see something that may not look right or needs our attention,” he said.

Boeing has tried to encourage more employees to speak out about quality concerns in the months since the Alaska Airlines flight incident. The pilots landed the plane with no major injuries on board, but federal investigators later said it appeared the plane had left the Boeing factory without the screws required to attach the door panel.

The episode raised questions about Boeing’s quality control practices. The company has taken a number of measures in response, including introducing inspections, expanding training and encouraging employees to speak up. The plane maker recently said there had been a five-fold increase in the number of submissions to an internal portal through which employees can report concerns.

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