Updated March 14th, 2024 at 08:51 IST

Europe aviation regulator prepared to halt Boeing approval if necessary

Boeing has been under increasing scrutiny regarding factory quality control since January 5, when a door plug detached from a 737 MAX 9 jet mid-air.

Reported by: Business Desk
Boeing | Image:AP

Boing in focus: The acting head of Europe's aviation regulator stated on Wednesday that the agency would suspend its indirect approval of Boeing's jet production if warranted, although he expressed confidence that the aircraft manufacturer is addressing its latest safety challenges.

In an interview with Reuters, Luc Tytgat, acting executive director of the European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA), indicated for the first time publicly that the international cooperation supporting global aeroplane production was facing significant challenges amid the ongoing crisis.


When asked if EASA would be willing to cease recognising US production safety approvals affirming the safety of Boeing jets, Tytgat responded, “If need be, yes.”

Boeing has been under increasing scrutiny regarding factory quality control since January 5, when a door plug detached from a 737 MAX 9 jet mid-air due to missing bolts. 


The US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) recently announced findings from an audit of Boeing and supplier Spirit AeroSystems, revealing numerous instances of inadequate controls.

Under a transatlantic agreement, the FAA and EASA oversee the factories of their respective aircraft manufacturers, Boeing and Airbus, and acknowledge each other's safety approvals.


However, if one side loses confidence in the other's compliance checks, it can suspend recognition after a 30-day pause following failed consultations.

While such steps are rare, Tytgat stressed upon the importance of implementing all available measures when necessary. 


He stated that EASA's influence over the design of Boeing planes has increased since the MAX crashes but noted limited options for increasing monitoring of existing Boeing models' production.

Pressed on the circumstances that would prompt EASA to take drastic action, Tytgat mentioned “more fatal accidents in the future.”


While the FAA and Boeing did not directly respond to EASA's remarks, Tytgat noted that he did not perceive an immediate threat to Boeing's production certification, particularly after discussions with senior Boeing executives, which he found reassuring.

EASA officials visited Boeing's 737 plant last week, but Tytgat ruled out a permanent presence, deeming it contrary to the spirit of the transatlantic safety agreement.


The potential decision by either of the world's most powerful aviation regulators to disrupt production approval for Boeing or Airbus jets would navigate uncharted territory and likely evoke political reactions, according to experts.

(With Reuters Inputs)


Published March 14th, 2024 at 08:51 IST