Business / Corporate

IHI vows to improve product safety in wake of jet engine inspection scandal

Kyodo

IHI Corp. said Friday it will boost steps to ensure product safety after an inspection scandal revealed that jet engines and parts it made had been given improper inspections for a decade.

The supplier to aviation giants Boeing Co. and Airbus S.A.S said one of the causes of the improper inspections had been traced to its priority of meeting delivery deadlines at a time when its jet engine business was expanding, a decision that led to a lack of safety awareness.

IHI submitted the preventive measures to the transport ministry, which issued a business improvement order to it in April.

IHI has confirmed it conducted more than 14,000 cases of improper maintenance work at its plant in Tokyo. These included uncertified workers who participated in inspections.

The heavy machinery maker said it is recalling two engines and 58 parts and plans to complete the work by the end of the month. IHI said the products being recalled will have “no immediate effects on safety” but decided to recall them to prevent problems related to long-term use.

IHI also said management had “excessive expectations” for field workers without trying to determine the real situation on the ground.

Under the preventive measures, the company said it will hold workplace meetings on safety on a regular basis and appoint a safety manager for its jet engine maintenance operations.

To prevent inspectors from coming under excessive pressure to meet deadlines, those who were working in the manufacturing section will be transferred and integrated into the quality-control division, IHI said.

“We will ensure that preventive measures are conducted and make efforts to work as one to regain trust,” the company said.

In its three-year business plan through March 2022, released Wednesday, the company said it will put the highest priority on quality and safety, including by enhancing the commercial jet engine maintenance segment by using digitization technology.

IHI is among a slew of manufacturers embroiled in scandals over poor quality control, including Nissan Motor Co. and Kobe Steel Ltd.