The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has declared that the aircraft manufacturing giant Boeing Co BA will modify its inspection guidelines for the 737 Max 9 airplanes in response to a mid-flight panel blowout incident that occurred last week.
What Happened: A recent Alaska Air Group Inc ALK flight experienced a mishap. Preliminary examinations conducted by Alaska and United Airlines Holdings Inc UAL detected loose hardware on identical model planes. The FAA subsequently grounded several jets. Boeing released inspection procedures for the jets on Monday, with FAA endorsement, CNBC reported.
Revisions to these guidelines can originate from airlines’ feedback, Boeing, or inspectors. The FAA statement on Tuesday stated, “Boeing provided an initial set of instructions yesterday, which they are currently revising due to the received feedback. Once Boeing submits the updated instructions, the FAA will undertake a comprehensive review.”
The FAA further stated, “Every Boeing 737-9 Max with a plug door will be grounded until the FAA verifies each can safely resume operations. The safety of the flying public, not speed, will govern the timeline for returning the Boeing 737-9 Max to service.”
Boeing conveyed on Tuesday that it is maintaining close communication with its customers and the FAA. The company is implementing updates based on their input and requirements. Concurrently, the National Transportation Safety Board is probing the Alaska Airlines incident, focusing on the door plug failure of the new 737 Max 9.
Why It Matters: The grounding of the 737 Max 9 has had a significant impact on airline stocks that operate the model, as observed in the wake of the incident. This event is another blow to Boeing’s reputation, which is still recovering from an earlier grounding of the entire global fleet of Max-family jets five years ago due to two fatal crashes.
Boeing’s CEO David Calhoun addressed employees on Tuesday, expressing the company’s intent to acknowledge its mistake and act transparently throughout investigations into the incident. The incident has triggered regulatory scrutiny, raising concerns about the safety of relatively new aircraft.
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