FAA announces increase in oversight on Boeing production following Alaska AirlinesFAA announces increase in oversight on Boeing production following Alaska Airlines

The Federal Aviation Administration has said that it intends to increase monitoring of Boeing after a recent incident in which a door plug blew out during an Alaska Airlines flight. In response, the FAA will conduct an urgent examination of Boeing’s production and manufacturing methods. This review will concentrate on Boeing’s compliance with authorised quality processes. Additionally, the FAA will look at safety concerns about delegated authority and quality supervision, especially in relation to the Organisation Designation Authorization programme. This programme transferred particular portions of the aircraft certification process to manufacturers like Boeing.

On January 5th, after departing from Portland International Airport, the door plug of a Boeing 737 Max 9 detached a few minutes into Alaska Airlines Flight 1282. This incident resulted in cabin depressurization and exposed passengers to open air at a considerable altitude. Fortunately, there were no serious injuries, and the aircraft landed safely.

FAA Administrator Michael Whitaker mentioned that the agency is considering the possibility of employing an external, independent third party to supervise Boeing’s inspections and quality system.

Whitaker expressed the need for a thorough reevaluation of authority delegation and the scrutiny of associated safety concerns. Given the grounding of the 737-9 and the various production-related issues observed in recent times, he emphasised the imperative to explore all avenues to minimise risks.

The FAA announced three main areas of increased oversight on Friday: a look at the Boeing 737 Max 9 production line and its suppliers; more monitoring of what happens with the Boeing 737 Max while it is in use; and a study of the safety risks associated with “delegated authority and quality oversight,” with the goal of looking into the possibility of giving these tasks to separate, third-party organisations.

After the FAA said they would be looking into Boeing because of the door plug incident, Boeing said in a statement on Thursday that they would fully cooperate and be open with both the FAA and NTSB probes. Spirit Aerosystems, Boeing’s parts seller, said it would back the FAA’s audit, putting quality, product integrity, and safety as a trusted partner at the top of its list of priorities. Boeing welcomed the FAA’s greater control and said it was ready to work with the agency in an open and honest way.

The National Transportation Safety Board is investigating the incident and received the door plug at their lab in Washington, D.C., on Friday. It will undergo additional testing to determine the reasons behind its unexpected expulsion during the flight.

Following the door plug incident, the FAA decided to ground around 171 Boeing 737-9 Max planes. On Friday, the agency specified that before approving the instructions for the necessary inspections to allow these planes back in the air, Boeing must provide additional data. Boeing must conduct plug-door inspections on 40 aircraft and share the results with the FAA. The FAA will then make the final call on whether the inspections are satisfactory for airlines to commence their reviews of the affected planes.

When asked about steps to stop similar events from happening again, FAA Administrator Mike Whitaker said in a statement, “We’re working to make sure that a similar event doesn’t happen again.” The safety of American passengers is our top priority, and the Boeing 737-9 MAX won’t go back into service until we’re sure it’s safe. Boeing has not replied quickly to the request for comment.

United Airlines said on Friday that it would not be operating any Boeing 737 Max 9 flights until January 16. The airline said that by making this choice early, they intended to give customers more peace of mind and give their service teams more freedom, especially since winter weather is making things difficult across much of the country.

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