Boeing has grounded its entire fleet of new 737 MAX airliners after discovering a potential engine manufacturing problem. The move comes just a week before the first MAX delivery, to Malaysia’s Malindo Air, was set to take place.
Although no problems have been found during the type’s extensive 16-month flight test programme, Boeing now believes that metal discs inside some of its new LEAP engines could potentially crack due to a manufacturing fault. Boeing’s communications spokesman, Doug Alder, said: “Out of an abundance of caution, we decided to temporarily suspend MAX flights.” Boeing said some LEAP engines it has already received are unaffected by the issue, but the US authorities have declared that all powerplants will have to be re-approved by the regulator before flights can recommence. The engines will be shipped back to their manufacturer for inspection and Boeing says that the 737 MAX deliveries planned for this month will still go ahead as planned.