The Boeing Company's (NYSE: BA) 737 MAX aircraft has more design flaws than previously anticipated, an internal audit conducted by the company has shown.
According to a report by the New York Times on Sunday, an internal audit by Boeing in December found concerns related to wiring and the engine panel that were previously unreported.
Two bundles of wiring in the aircraft could be too close together to cause a short circuit, sources from Boeing told the Times. If the craft's pilot fails to respond correctly, the short circuit could cause a "catastrophic accident."
The issue is simple to fix, and won't take more than an hour or two, the Boeing engineers told the Times on condition of anonymity. But the company would rather not fix it unless absolutely needed, because "additional damage could be done during a repair."
The internal audit, which was done on the request of the Federal Aviation Administration, also found certain design flaws with the aircraft's engine that makes it vulnerable to a lightning strike, the Times reported.
In an attempt to create a better fit, Boeing workers inadvertently removed an upper coating from the engine panel that insulated it from a lightning strike, the engineers told the Times. Boeing is already in the process of fixing the issue on the directions of the FAA, the Times reported.
"The [FAA] and Boeing are analyzing certain findings from a recent review of the proposed modifications to the Boeing 737 MAX," an [FAA] spokesman, Lynn Lunsford, said in a statement, as reported by the Times.
"As part of its continuing oversight, the agency will ensure that all safety-related issues identified during this process are addressed before the aircraft is approved for return to passenger service."
The 737 MAX was grounded in March last year after two fatal crashes left 346 people dead. The company suspended the aircraft's production pending regulatory approval.
Boeing's shares closed 0.17% lower at $332.76 on Friday.
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