FAA says leaky faucets are a safety problem on Boeing 787s

Regulators are worried that faucet leaks in Boeing 787 jets could pose a safety hazard by water seeping into the planes' electronics during flights.

The Federal Aviation Administration proposed Friday to order repetitive inspections and, if leaks are found, replacing faucet parts. The move comes after reports of water from lavatories getting under the cabin floor and into electronic equipment bays.

Boeing 787-10 Dreamliner, from United Airlines company, taking off from Barcelona airport, in Barcelona on 28th March 2023. (Photo by JanValls/Urbanandsport /NurPhoto via Getty Images)

The FAA said the leaks could damage critical equipment and lead to a "loss of continued safe flight and landing."

The agency said one airline found wet carpet in the cockpit of a plane and, when it inspected its entire fleet of 787s, found "multiple" planes with leaking faucets. The FAA did not identify the airline.

Boeing advised airlines in November about the issue, which has been traced to an O-ring seal and described as a slow leak — about 8 ounces of water per hour. However, Boeing said the issue was limited to certain 787s while the FAA order would cover all of them.

The FAA described the extra inspections as a temporary measure while the manufacturer redesigns the faucet modules.

A Boeing spokesman said the redesign is complete and the company is working with its supplier and customers to determine when planes can be retrofitted with new parts.

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Japanese aircraft parts maker Jamco says on its website that it is the exclusive provider of lavatories for all two-aisle Boeing jets such as the 787. The company did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

There will be a 45-day period for comments before the FAA proposal can become a final order.

The inspections would apply to 140 planes in U.S. fleets. Boeing calls the 787 the Dreamliner. It is a bigger plane than the 737 Max and is used extensively on long flights including international ones.

Dreamliner deliveries have been halted for several stretches during the past two years because of FAA concern over production flaws, although deliveries recently resumed after the latest stoppage.