WASHINGTON — Airlines may have a problem with loose screws, the Transportation Department's inspector general says.
Investigators found that more than one-fourth of screws and bolts tested at random didn't meet specifications, according to an inspector general's report that was released Friday.
It included no reports of accidents resulting from substandard parts.
"We are not seeing a problem in service. Airplane parts are holding together," Federal Aviation Administration spokesman Eliot Brenner said.
"The figure they came up with is a surprise to us," he said, noting that the FAA has launched an evaluation of screw and bolt manufacturers.
A 1990 law, the Fastener Quality Act, requires that screws, bolts and other fasteners used in aircraft meet strict specifications.
In an effort to check fastener quality, investigators from the inspector general's office randomly collected 176 fasteners from the inventories of airlines and repair stations. The items were selected from a list of critical parts used in Boeing, Pratt & Whitney, General Electric and Bombardier products.