WASHINGTON D.C- The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has initiated an investigation into Boeing following an incident where a faulty door plug dislodged from an Alaska Airlines (AS) 737 MAX 9 plane last week, necessitating an emergency landing.
In a statement, the FAA emphasized that the occurrence was unacceptable and should not be repeated, confirming that Boeing has been officially notified of the investigation.
FAA Investigating Boeing
Shortly after taking off from Portland International Airport on Friday, the door plug for the fuselage of a Boeing 737 Max 9 detached from Alaska Airlines Flight 1282, causing cabin depressurization and exposing passengers to open air thousands of feet above ground.
Passengers recorded footage showing a void left by the dislodged door plug.
In response, Boeing issued a statement, saying, “We will cooperate fully and transparently with the FAA and the NTSB on their investigations.”
The FAA announced that its investigation will focus on determining whether Boeing neglected to ensure that the finished products adhered to the approved design and were in a condition for safe operation, complying with FAA regulations.
The investigation into Boeing stems from the door plug incident and “additional discrepancies,” as stated by the FAA.
The agency emphasized that Boeing’s manufacturing practices must align with the stringent safety standards for which they are legally responsible.
737 MAX 9 Grounding
The FAA declared on Tuesday that every Boeing 737 MAX 9 equipped with a plug door will be kept grounded until the administration confirms that each aircraft can safely resume operations. This temporary suspension impacts approximately 171 planes globally.
“The timeline for the return of the Boeing 737-9 Max to service will be determined by the safety of the flying public, not speed,” stated the FAA on Thursday.
The National Transportation Safety Board is currently investigating the emergency incident involving Alaska Airlines.
Boeing CEO Dave Calhoun conveyed to employees on Tuesday that the company intends to address the midair emergency by first acknowledging “our mistake.”
“We’re going to approach it with 100% and complete transparency every step of the way,” Calhoun mentioned during a meeting with employees at the 737 production facility in Renton, Washington. He emphasized collaboration with the NTSB, which is probing the accident, to uncover its cause.
The NTSB investigation initially focuses on the specific aircraft but may broaden as more information becomes available, according to board Chief Jennifer Homendy.
“Lose Bolts, Fractured Bolts or No Bolts”
“At some point, we may need to broaden our investigation. However, currently, our focus is on understanding how this specific incident occurred with this particular aircraft,” stated Homendy on ABC News’ “Good Morning America” on Tuesday.
Homendy explained that the fittings at the top of the door plug fractured, allowing the plug door to move upward and outward, as indicated by the ongoing NTSB examination.
“We don’t know if the bolts were loose. We don’t know if bolts were fractured, or possibly the bolts weren’t there at all,” she said. “NTSB has to determine that back in the laboratory.”
United Airlines reported on Monday that it had discovered loose bolts on its 737 Max 9 fleet during inspections initiated after the incident involving an Alaska Airlines flight on Friday.
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