Uh Oh: Electrical Issues Ground Some Boeing 737 MAXs

Filed Under: Misc.

While seemingly unrelated to the issues that grounded the 737 MAX back in early 2019, this still isn’t a good look for Boeing, given that the plane has just been recertified by many aviation authorities around the globe.

Boeing 737 MAXs grounded over electrical issues

Boeing is recommending that 16 airline customers ground some Boeing 737 MAXs over potential electrical issues. Per Boeing’s announcement:

Boeing has recommended to 16 customers that they address a potential electrical issue in a specific group of 737 MAX airplanes prior to further operations. The recommendation is being made to allow for verification that a sufficient ground path exists for a component of the electrical power system.

We are working closely with the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration on this production issue. We are also informing our customers of specific tail numbers affected and we will provide direction on appropriate corrective actions.

Southwest is grounding part of its 737 MAX fleet

Which airlines are impacted?

Boeing is simply stating that 16 airline customers are potentially impacted by this, but hasn’t clarified which airlines. In the US it appears that all operators of the 737 MAX are impacted, including:

  • Four of four Alaska Airlines Boeing 737 MAXs
  • 17 of 41 American Airlines Boeing 737 MAXs
  • 16 of 30 United Airlines Boeing 737 MAXs
  • 30 of 58 Southwest Airlines Boeing 737 MAXs

As you can see, those aren’t the entire 737 MAX fleets that most of these airlines operate, so only a subset of 737 MAXs are impacted by this. You can expect we may see some flight cancelations and delays in the coming days, as airlines try to find aircraft replacements for some 737 MAXs.

To be clear, this is completely unrelated to the MCAS issues that contributed to two Boeing 737 MAXs crashing, and then the planes eventually being grounded for around 20 months. It’s not totally unusual for certain fleet types to be grounded over newly discovered issues, though suffice to say that the timing here isn’t ideal.

That’s especially true as Chinese regulators still haven’t approved the 737 MAX returning to service, though rumor has it that they were getting close. I can’t imagine this update will help with that goal, especially given the politics involved.

United is grounding part of its 737 MAX fleet

Bottom line

New electrical issues have been discovered with the Boeing 737 MAX, which means 16 airlines will have to ground at least some of their aircraft. This includes some flights operated by American, Southwest, and United.

Only time will tell if we’re talking about a very brief grounding, or if this has the potential to last longer. One thing’s for sure — this isn’t good for airlines, especially for US airlines, as the demand for domestic travel is surging.

  1. @ George — It’s news because a not-insignificant number of flights are likely to be canceled, delayed, or have aircraft substitutions, as a result of this.

  2. @George whilst AD’s are issued all the time I’d also say that anything to do with potential safety issues for the Max will remain reported for some time. This kind of thing tends to happen when an aircraft holds the unenviable tile of “most deaths to flights made”.

    I’d also suggest it’s news as we’ve constantly been fed the “but this will be the most thoroughly checked plane in history” line by the company itself and the,imho, untrustworthy and not fit for purpose FAA who are again, imho, guilty of a deriliction of duty.

    IF such a fine tooth comb was ran through the thing then how pray tell could something like an earthing issue ( which inherently carries a fire risk factor) have been missed?

    THAT is why this deserves to be news and for questions to be asked. What else got missed whilst making this “the most thoroughly tested and safest aircraft”?

  3. If and when you fly, it helps to be plugged in.

    Sorry, could not resist. boo hiss, I know….

    Lithium batteries, say what?

  4. Electrical (read battery) issues were identified over 20 years ago on the 7×7, now 787. This was before the infamous battery fires. I guess the same issues managed to miraculously transfer/evolve/devolve onto the the 737 Max.

    So much for being on the design team back then….

  5. I cannot believe that the government would allow these private companies like Boeing to go scott free. The fines the Boeing recently paid were merely a slap on the hand. This is the result of of years of the republican deregulations of everything in the country. Leaving these companies to self-regulate is inhuman and devastating but it enriches a handful.

  6. @norb I’d say they were worst than that. They were a slap in the face to victims. The US Gov awarded itself ( in the form of fines) many X’s the amount paid out to the families of those who lost loved ones whilst also being culpable itself via the FAAs total incompetence and being in part to blame ( in my opinion) and essentially let the execs “pay to get out of jail”

    I’ve saidany a time that I refused to board a 78 until they could go 5 years without setting themselves alight and there were no fatalities there. I simply won’t board one of these death traps and will use alternative flights or even carriers if one ever gets assigned to a booked flight.

    And for those who may have the audacity to roll out the “but it’s the most thoroughly checked and safest airliner ever” trope I’ll simply refer you to my comment above.

  7. @MYSELF

    You are totally wrong.

    Of the $2.5bn settlement of the criminal case funds were allocated as follows

    $245m as criminal penalty
    $500m to the victims of the teo flights
    $1.7bn to airlines

    The amount going to the Feds is less than half the payment to victims and not as you assert ” many X’s the amount paid out to the families”

    These facts are easy to find and Ben actually wrote about them at the time


  8. A salt and battery is no joke.

    Who’s having a bad day here?

    That would be me…..

  9. Where is my comment I left on this, Ben? Do you not like the fact I mentioned republicans? Does that bother your apolitical sensibilities? Because you like every White Man wants to remain neutral to make money, and have everyone read your blogs, and profit from not saying anything controversial?

  10. Excellente as they say in my newly adopted country. El Mexico. F**ing Republicans. This is why nothing gets done in the States. Just start with me Noria 765. Get a real name and stand behind it. As opposed to hiding.

  11. My comment had to do with the fact the problem with companies like Boeing is a result of years of inhuman/anti-human republican deregulations of everything public and and private. (What happened with the Texas’s power grid is only a minor symptom of it.) For them regulation and supervision is always govt. overeach, and every industry can supposedly “self-regulate”, which is a recipe for disaster. It is an unholy alliance between the corporate powers and politics, and democrats have been allies of it as well. The victims are citizens without power to contest any of it.

  12. @MYSELF, agreed. I would not board one of those 737/787s as well. Already trying to disguise themselves. Evil a$$$hole corporations.

  13. @Chris C

    I am always happy to stand corrected when I am wrong and thank you for pointing out my error. I was clearly bmis remembering funds allocation. I maintain the POV that out of the entire amount the amount put aside for victims families was a poor % but I do appreciate you highlighting my error.

    @Noira – what can I say other than “way to be both sexist and racist” how very enlightened of you. Somewhat amusing that, by your own words, you are the type of person who is herself guilty of the things of which you ascribe to others.

  14. Jesus, noria having a meltdown…

    At least Boeing is coming forward this time themselves instead of waiting for something terrible to happen first. Hopefully, they will remember this lesson the next time they want to take shortcuts.

    In a perfect world, they would let the engineers run the company instead of the bean counters.

  15. @nor48nb yes and a good point. Ryanair ( a loathsome LCC run by a loathsome CEO) are calling theirs 737-8200’s with Boeing themselves renaming them at the factory.

    IAG / BA did float the idea( internally) but BA FFs found out and that plan was quickly ditched. Using them full stop has not given me down well and if the order ever does go through current plans are to use them on “Level”‘s fleet. there’s a running joke that when Willie Walsh signed the LOI/ ( un firm);order for 200 it was on a “buy one get 199 free basis).

    Whilst I can see the skewed reasoning for an airline to at least consider re branding the things it’s also, imho, short sighted and encourages negative feelings towards any airline doing so with pax feeling it’s dishonest/ disingenuous and then leading them to question why.

    I have flown in dreamliners since and find them nice aircraft ( so long as CC givee access to my own window controls lol) but I did have flights changed in that 5 year period if an aircraft change meant I was going to be put on one. The Max though well at a push I’d say 10 years before I’d be willing and tbh it’s a recycled product now so most likely would be irrelevant by the time I was willing to step onbaord one.

    Boeing is in a tough spot. They had nothing to take on the 320 family and chose to go the cheap/ corner cutting route and it’s come to bite them in the ass. Their new NMA is stop-go-stop because of poor management decisions and unfortunately lives have been lost because of it. With these new issues it’s just another nail in the liners coffin but Boeing are now so far down the road they can’t really just scrap the damn things and bury all the negativity associated with them. That said I have zero sympathy for those who created this situation themselves.

  16. @David whilst I’ve been outspoken on my personal feelings about Max and Boeings actions I’ll take this opportunity to say I’m not ‘anti Boeing’ ( 85% of my LH flying is on Boeing planes) I will TOTALLY agree with your points.

    It IS good that they are at least being honest, open and proactive regarding this issue ( putting aside the fact it was missed in the 1st place for a second) and that the company would be in far better position if, as you say yourself, “the engineers were incharge not the bean counters”

    Even worse is that they’re not even good counters as “crap product built to a budget + maximum corners cut + deaths arising = negative renumeration”

    I have the utmost respect for those engineers who risked their careers and pensions to come forward and whistle blow and with more of them in key positions/ decision making posts the company would do much better.

    I also think that the global standard of letting manufacturers do most the certification is one that needs to be abolished. The FAA were,imho, just as culpable and guilty of a deriliction of duty in this whole thing and the fact that they assured us that would change and you currently have dozens of these aircraft grounded indicates to me that they were simply words and the institutional problems that contributed to this are still prevelant and more than likely also in place with the EASA, CASA and other equivalent bodies

  17. @Jackson Waterson,

    Your racism seems to have no limits. I suspect that you are not about to alter your Nazi ego. I will say though that you are badly in need of a history lesson. Did you skip your liberal arts history classes perhaps because they were too “liberal” for you? Or did you doze right through them? Heard of gun powder, guns, bombs, compass, calculator, numerals, mathematics, irrigation, paper, CD players MP3 players, dance, romantic music, ink, and more recently, Apple, etc.? And, lest you forget, what to make of religion and Christianity? Who invented them? I guess they were all white men because white men are just plain white men! Jesus too was white? And, have heard of Al-Andalus? I guess those ruled it also lived in mud huts before your Nazi white ancestors made the world more habitable for “us”?

    And your logic defies logic: “For the record, Boeing is owned by many index funds and mutual funds. Of course the very rich own more than others but nearly everyone with a 401K/IRA or individual account benefits from Boeing.”

    One would expect even a high school student to do better!

  18. @david 100% agree Boeing would be in aich better position if more engineers held key positions than accountants. Especially when those bean counters are so short sighted they fail to realise
    Cost cutting + corner cutting + deaths = negative cash / poor end user sentiment.

  19. Ben, you ought to be ashamed of letting racists purvey their Nazi views on your platform. You are as culpable.

    Stop reading Ben’s blogs.

  20. Bahahaha haha. Silence from the “the 737 max will be safest plane in the sky after all this scrutiny” brigade???

  21. @noria765 ” Because you like every White Man ” – That’s YOU being both sexist and racist. The only person here guilty of your accusations is YOU.

    Also no one is forcing you to read Ben’s blog so if you think people shouldn’t read it maybe start with yourself. From your very 1st comment accusing Ben of something he hadn’t done you’ve been nothing but aggressive, confrontational and the person guilty of what you call others. The rest of us have been talking about the article while you’ve been branding everyone as this or that based on sex or race making you the racist & sexist one. If you’re going to act in such a way then, imho, people are right to call you out for such behaviour. Defending oneself from YOUR racism and sexism isn’t the problem here, it’s you being that person and acting in that way in the 1st place.

  22. @MYSELF,
    A Remarkable justification of Nazism! Now the victim is the RACIST WHITE MAN celebrating WHITE MEN.

  23. @MYSELF,

    If anything, you prove my point just by defending this sort of racist garbage.

    “If it weren’t for white men, you would be living in a mud hut without electricity, cell phones, medicine, air conditioning, refrigeration, computers, and especially no air travel. White men are responsible for nearly all technological innovation.”

  24. When YOU’RE racist & sexist dont be surprised when somebody serves you a taste of your own medicine. Maybe if you cant take it then dont give it and certainly dont start it. Two wrongs don’t make a right but when you’re the one starting things then your attempt to pay victim is both transparently false and gross.

    @Noria765 YOU are the worst kind of ‘Nazi’ because you’re the one starting, causing and perpetuating the bad behaviour and then blindly refusing to admit YOUR own actions and trying to somehow assert you have a ‘victim card’ to play here. You’re clearly the type of Nazi who spent years shooting people up against a wall and then tried to say “I was just following orders”

    I’m done feeding your behaviour. I’d hope you’d take a long look in the mirror but I already know you wont. You’ll go spread your abhorrent behaviour somewhere else accusing those of your own crimes no doubt but i’m done engaging with you and your duplicitous actions.

  25. @MYSELF, You are a pathetic excuse for a human being and a racist pice of trash calling Nazi white supremacy “bad behaviour.” You are not only a racist bigot but also an uneducated lamebrain. It must have take a lot of hard work to come up with such an asinine definition of Nazism:

    “YOU are the worst kind of ‘Nazi’ because you’re the one starting, causing and perpetuating the bad behaviour and then blindly refusing to admit YOUR own actions and trying to somehow assert you have a ‘victim card’ to play here.”

    MYSELF, YOU are stupidity cum white supremacy personified! It is because of unlettered scumbags like you that this country is going to hell.

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