FAA mandates inspections of Boeing 737 oxygen masks for safety compliance

The Federal Aviation Administration is requiring inspections of Boeing 737 airplanes to ensure oxygen masks are properly working and won't fail during an emergency. 

The order will require inspections of more than 2,600 planes. The FAA said any corrective actions must be performed within 120 to 150 days.

"In June 2024, Boeing shared detailed instructions for operators to update a subset of the restraining straps on 737 oxygen generators," the company said in a statement to FOX Television Stations. "A new adhesive introduced on the straps in August 2019 has been found, under certain circumstances, to have allowed units to shift up to three quarters of an inch." 

"We have gone back to the original adhesive for all new deliveries to ensure the generators remain firmly in place, as intended," the statement continued. 

Boeing, the aerospace manufacturer, has been under scrutiny over safety concerns.

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The company will plead guilty to a criminal fraud charge stemming from two crashes of 737 Max jetliners that killed 346 people, the Justice Department said late Sunday, after the government determined the company violated an agreement that had protected it from prosecution for more than three years.

The plea deal, which still must receive the approval of a federal judge to take effect, calls for Boeing to pay an additional $243.6 million fine. That was the same amount it paid under the 2021 settlement that the Justice Department said the company breached. 

In January, a panel covering an unused emergency exit Boeing aircraft blew off a Max during the Alaska Airlines flight over Oregon. Pilots landed the 737 Max safely and no one was seriously injured, but the incident led to closer scrutiny of the company.

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The Justice Department opened a new investigation, the FBI told passengers on the Alaska plane that they might be victims of a crime and the FAA said it was stepping up oversight of Boeing.

The company based in Arlington, Virginia, has 170,000 employees and dozens of airline customers spanning the globe. The best customers for the 737 Max include Southwest, United, American, Alaska, Ryanair and flydubai.

At a recent Senate hearing, Boeing CEO David Calhoun defended the company’s safety record after turning and apologizing to Max crash victims’ relatives seated in the rows behind him "for the grief that we have caused."

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Hours before the hearing, the Senate investigations subcommittee released a 204-page report with new allegations from a whistleblower who said he worried that defective parts could be going into 737s. The whistleblower was the latest in a string of current and former Boeing employees who have raised safety concerns about the company and claimed they faced retaliation as a result.

The Associated Press contributed to this report. This story was reported from Los Angeles.