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Boeing Urged to Cooperate with US Investigations into 737 Max Aircraft

Boeing Urged to Cooperate with US Investigations into 737 Max Aircraft

In a recent development, Boeing is under scrutiny as the US Department of Justice (DOJ) initiates an investigation into the 737 Max 9 door plug blowout incident. The Transportation Secretary, Pete Buttigieg, has called on Boeing to fully cooperate with federal investigations following reports of the DOJ’s involvement.

The investigation stems from an incident on January 5 involving an Alaska Airlines flight where the door plug of a Boeing 737 Max 9 blew out. Federal regulators have reportedly contacted passengers and crew from the flight as part of the investigation.

During testimony to Congress, Jennifer Homendy, head of the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), revealed that Boeing had refused to identify employees involved in door panel work on 737 aircraft. Additionally, Boeing failed to provide documentation regarding a repair job that included reinstalling the door panel.

Boeing stated that it had provided the NTSB with relevant employee names after a Senate hearing and had now submitted a full list of individuals involved in the door team. However, regarding documentation, Boeing explained that if the door plug removal was undocumented, there would be no documentation to share.

Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg emphasized the importance of Boeing’s cooperation with investigations conducted by entities such as the DOJ and NTSB. The Justice Department has convened a grand jury with the authority to issue subpoenas for interviews and documents.

In a preliminary report, the NTSB found that four bolts that should have prevented the panel from blowing off were missing. Both the NTSB and the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) are investigating safety practices at Boeing.

The FAA conducted an audit of Boeing’s 737 Max production process after the Alaska Airlines incident, which revealed that 33 out of 89 tests failed. Spirit AeroSystems, the supplier responsible for fuselage parts, passed only six of 13 audits, raising further concerns about safety standards.

Boeing’s decision to enter talks to reacquire Spirit AeroSystems, previously spun out in 2005, indicates a shift in approach towards outsourcing. The potential reintegration of Spirit into Boeing’s operations aims to strengthen aviation safety and quality standards.

The 737 Max aircraft, Boeing’s best-selling model, has faced multiple challenges in recent years. Following two fatal crashes in 2019, the aircraft was grounded for two years due to a defect in its flight stabilizing system.

In response to the recent safety issues, Emirates airline president Tim Clark has called for changes at Boeing. Emirates, one of Boeing’s major customers, plans to send its engineers to observe the production process of Boeing’s 777 aircraft and Spirit AeroSystems.

As investigations into the 737 Max aircraft continue, Boeing’s cooperation and adherence to safety standards will be closely monitored to ensure the integrity and safety of commercial aviation.

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