The FAA has told airlines to inspect Boeing 737 keys.


The Federal Aviation Administration on Thursday instructed airlines to inspect a double cabin air pressure switch on all Boeing 737 aircraft, citing safety concerns.

If switches fail, oxygen levels can drop dangerously inside an airplane without warning. This could render the flight crews ineffective, causing them to lose control of the aircraft.

“Tackling these failures requires urgent action,” the agency said in a directive.

The airlines did not report any malfunctions that caused a dangerous drop in oxygen levels during the flight. But in September, an unnamed aircraft operator said the switches on three planes, all of which were different 737 models, failed a test. Boeing decided late last year that these failures were not a safety concern, but the company and the FAA later concluded, after further investigation and analysis, that they posed a threat.

The FAA’s directive applies to all 737 models, including the problematic 737 Max, which was banned worldwide in March 2019 after two fatal crashes. This ban began to be lifted late last year, and the Max has since been used on thousands of flights.

The order, known as the airworthiness directive, mandated a recommendation Boeing issued to customers last month, the company said in a statement. “Safety is our highest priority and we fully support the FAA’s direction,” Boeing said.

The order applies to approximately 2,500 aircraft in the United States and more than 9,300 aircraft worldwide. Keys must be inspected within 2,000 flight hours from the date they were last tested, or within 90 days from the effective date of the order.


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