Boeing Responds to Initial NTSB Report on Max-9 Door Plug Blowout

Image: Boeing

Boeing issued a new statement in response to the U.S. National Transportation Safety Board’s initial conclusions regarding the cause of an in-flight door plug failure on an Alaska Airlines 737 MAX 9 on January 5.

The company said it will review the agency’s findings quickly and continue to cooperate fully with ongoing NTSB and the Federal Aviation Administration investigations into the incident. Boeing President and CEO Dave Calhoun acknowledged in the statement that Boeing is accountable for what happened during the flight.

Boeing said it has implemented a control plan to ensure all 737-9 mid-exit door plugs are installed according to specifications and added new inspections of the door plug assembly and similar structures at Spirit AeroSystems and on Boeing’s production line.  It has also added signage and protocol to fully document when the door plug is opened or removed at Boeing’s factory, ensuring it is reinstalled and inspected prior to delivery.

Aside from preventing future safety lapses with the door plug, Boeing is implementing other changes to improve overall quality and stability in the 737 production system. New measures include:

  • Layering additional inspections further into the supply chain and collaborating with suppliers on production enhancements.
  • Performing more work on airplanes at their assigned positions.
  • Dedicating multiple days for 737 production teams to focus on and implement quality improvements.
  • Launching an independent assessment to bolster the quality management system at Boeing Commercial Airplanes by a highly experienced safety expert.

In addition, Boeing is opening its assembly line to 737 customers to conduct their own additional safety reviews.

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