Concerns Mount Over Boeing 777 Safety Directive as Hundreds at Risk of Midair Explosion

Concerns Mount Over Boeing 777 Safety Directive as Hundreds at Risk of Midair Explosion

TEHRAN (Tasnim) - The US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has issued a directive earlier this year, cautioning that a defect found in Boeing’s 777 airplanes might lead to "fire or explosion" if not addressed.

Whether the plane’s operators have taken steps to rectify the issue remains uncertain.

This directive, released in March, allowed for public comments until earlier this month. The Daily Mail brought attention to the publicly available document on Wednesday, amidst a series of safety incidents involving Boeing aircraft.

As per the FAA, a metal plate affixed to a fuel tank vent on the wings of the 777 was installed without an electrical bond. This could potentially result in the accumulation of static electricity, posing a risk of "fire or explosion" in the jet’s fuel tanks. The directive highlighted that approximately 292 777s registered in the US could be vulnerable, affecting all variants from the base model 777-200 to the long-range 777-300ER.

Boeing dismissed the Daily Mail’s report, asserting that the proposed directive is part of a "standard regulatory process" aimed at ensuring the safety of air travel. The company clarified, "This is not an immediate safety of flight issue," emphasizing the presence of multiple redundancies in modern commercial airplanes to safeguard against electromagnetic effects. Boeing underscored the 777’s operational history of nearly 30 years, safely transporting over 3.9 billion passengers.

The 777 holds the distinction of being the world’s most produced widebody airliner, with nearly 1,800 units delivered to operators globally since 1995. Despite being involved in 31 accidents or incidents, its safety record remains relatively better compared to its smaller predecessor, the 767, which was implicated in 67 accidents out of approximately 1,300 aircraft manufactured.

Boeing’s safety practices have faced scrutiny in recent years. The grounding of its entire fleet of short-haul 737 MAX airplanes following two deadly crashes in 2018 and 2019, coupled with subsequent incidents this year, including a door panel detaching mid-flight from a 737 MAX 9 operated by Alaska Airlines in January, have intensified concerns.

The US Department of Justice is still weighing the possibility of prosecuting Boeing over the 2018 and 2019 crashes, which claimed nearly 350 lives and were attributed to an erroneous pitch control system that the company had not disclosed to pilots.


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