FAA orders Boeing to fix 737 Max electrical issue

This latest directive is unrelated to the repairs to the Max's flight control system the FAA ordered in November.

Kent German Former senior managing editor / features
Kent was a senior managing editor at CNET News. A veteran of CNET since 2003, he reviewed the first iPhone and worked in both the London and San Francisco offices. When not working, he's planning his next vacation, walking his dog or watching planes land at the airport (yes, really).
Kent German
2 min read

A 737 Max lands at Boeing Field in Renton, Washington, after a test flight.

Boeing/Paul Christian Gordon

The Federal Aviation Administration on Wednesday ordered Boeing to fix an electrical issue in a group of 737 Max airliners before the planes can enter service. The Immediately Adopted Rule requires airlines to "modify the electrical bonding of the support panels in the flight deck to provide sufficient electrical grounding," the agency said.

The order concerns a problem Boeing first reported to the FAA on April 7. It also said it was temporarily halting delivery new Max planes while it addressed the problem. Two days after that, the company notified 16 airline customers that they address a potential electrical problem that could interfere with the operation of a backup power control unit.

Boeing said it has developed a solution to the issue and is in the process of fixing the affected aircraft.

Approximately 109 Max aircraft are affected, 71 of which fly for US airlines and all have been removed from service, the FAA said in a statement to CNET. The agency didn't say which domestic carriers are affected, but current operators of the aircraft include American, United, Southwest and Alaska.

This latest issue is unrelated to the repairs to the Max's flight control system the FAA ordered in November. Though it's now flying again globally -- except for China, the Max was grounded worldwide for almost two years after crashes in 2018 and 219 killed 346 people. 

As part of Boeing's first-quarter earnings announcement Wednesday, Boeing CEO Dave Calhoun said he expects the work to take a few days per airplane. "We are also working closely with the FAA and customers to address electrical issues identified in certain locations in the flight deck of select 737 Max airplanes, he said. "We will continue to focus on safety, quality and transparency through this process."