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Boeing Reports No Documentation Found on Removal of Key Part from 737 MAX 9

Boeing Aircraft Incident Sparks Investigation into Engine Cover
File photo: The fuselage plug area of Alaska Airlines Flight 1282 Boeing 737-9 MAX, which was forced... File photo: The fuselage plug area of Alaska Airlines Flight 1282 Boeing 737-9 MAX, which was forced to make an emergency landing with a gap in the fuselage, is seen during its investigation by the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) in Portland, Oregon, U.S. January 7, 2024. NTSB/Handout via REUTERS/File photo Purchase Licensing Rights
Boeing Aircraft Incident Sparks Investigation into Engine Cover
File photo: The fuselage plug area of Alaska Airlines Flight 1282 Boeing 737-9 MAX, which was forced... File photo: The fuselage plug area of Alaska Airlines Flight 1282 Boeing 737-9 MAX, which was forced to make an emergency landing with a gap in the fuselage, is seen during its investigation by the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) in Portland, Oregon, U.S. January 7, 2024. NTSB/Handout via REUTERS/File photo Purchase Licensing Rights

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Boeing Reports No Documentation Found on Removal of Key Part from 737 MAX 9

Boeing has informed regulators that it believes crucial documents detailing the removal of a key component during the production of a 737 MAX 9, which failed during a mid-air emergency, were never generated, according to a letter obtained by Reuters. The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) had previously revealed that a door plug detached from an Alaska Airlines 737 MAX 9 on January 5, apparently missing four essential bolts. Boeing’s Executive Vice President, Ziad Ojakli, stated in the letter to U.S. Senator Maria Cantwell that despite an extensive search, the company has not located any documentation related to the removal of the problematic part, suggesting that the required documents were never created when the door plug was opened.

This revelation comes amid criticism from NTSB Chair Jennifer Homendy regarding Boeing’s alleged lack of cooperation and failure to disclose certain documents, including details about the door plug’s opening and closing, as well as the names of 25 workers involved in the process at Boeing’s 737 factory in Renton, Washington. Homendy expressed frustration during a Senate Commerce Committee hearing, labeling it “absurd” that such information was not provided two months after the incident.

Following Homendy’s comments, Boeing eventually shared the names of the 25 workers, and the company’s CEO, Dave Calhoun, engaged with Homendy. The incident prompted the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to ground the 737 MAX 9 temporarily in January, restrict Boeing from increasing production rates, and mandate the development of a comprehensive plan to address systemic quality-control issues within 90 days.

Boeing’s letter also noted that the list of worker names was requested for the first time on March 2 and that discussions about the request took place on March 4. However, Homendy argued that the NTSB had been seeking this information for two months. She emphasized the importance of interviewing employees to understand the sequence of events and ensure safety by uncovering what actions were taken or not taken.

Boeing, in its letter, affirmed its commitment to full cooperation with the NTSB’s investigation and highlighted its previous provision of extensive records and documents. The NTSB investigators have been present at Boeing’s 737 plant since Sunday, conducting interviews as part of the ongoing inquiry. Homendy plans to send a letter to the Senate detailing the NTSB’s perspective on Boeing’s cooperation in response to the recent developments.


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