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Boeing says no documents found on 737 MAX 9 key part removal

BusinessBoeing says no documents found on 737 MAX 9 key part removal


This photo released by the National Transportation Safety Board shows a gaping hole where the paneled-over door had been at the fuselage plug area of Alaska Airlines Flight 1282, Jan. 7, 2024, in Portland, Ore. Boeing has refused to disclose who worked on the door plug that blew off a jetliner, according to the head of the agency that’s conducting the investigation. Jennifer Homendy, the chair of the National Transportation Board, also said Wednesday, March 6, 2024 that Boeing has failed to turn over documentation around work on the plane — or whether records even exist.

This photo released by the National Transportation Safety Board shows a gaping hole where the paneled-over door had been at the fuselage plug area of Alaska Airlines Flight 1282, Jan. 7, 2024, in Portland, Ore. Boeing has refused to disclose who worked on the door plug that blew off a jetliner, according to the head of the agency that’s conducting the investigation. Jennifer Homendy, the chair of the National Transportation Board, also said Wednesday, March 6, 2024 that Boeing has failed to turn over documentation around work on the plane — or whether records even exist.
| Photo Credit: AP

Boeing said on Friday it believes required documents detailing the removal of a key part during production of a 737 MAX 9 that failed during a mid-air emergency were never created, according to a letter seen by Reuters.

The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) said last month the door plug that flew off an Alaska Airlines 737 MAX 9 jet mid-flight on Jan. 5 appeared to be missing four key bolts.

Boeing Executive Vice President Ziad Ojakli told U.S. Senator Maria Cantwell in the letter, “We have looked extensively and have not found any such documentation” and that the planemaker’s working hypothesis was “the documents required by our processes were not created when the door plug was opened.”

NTSB Chair Jennifer Homendy on Wednesday criticized what she called Boeing’s lack of cooperation and failure to disclose some documents, including on the door plug opening and closing, as well as the names of 25 workers on the door crew at the 737 factory in Renton, Washington.

“It is absurd that two months later we don’t have it,” Ms. Homendy told a Senate Commerce Committee hearing.

Key bolts missing from Alaska Airlines plane

Key bolts missing from Alaska Airlines plane

After Ms. Homendy’s comments, Boeing provided the 25 names, the company and NTSB said, and Boeing CEO Dave Calhoun spoke to Ms. Homendy.

In the aftermath of the incident, which caused no injuries, the Federal Aviation Administration grounded the MAX 9 for several weeks in January, barred Boeing from increasing the MAX production rate and ordered Boeing to develop a comprehensive plan to address “systemic quality-control issues” within 90 days.

Boeing’s letter said, “It appears from our records this list was requested from us for the first time on Saturday, March 2, by email, and the request was discussed by Boeing and the NTSB on Monday.”

Ms. Homendy said on Wednesday the NTSB had been trying for two months to identify the specific MAX 9 production shift and employees, adding the board had told key lawmakers about its request for employee names during a Feb. 6 meeting.

“The NTSB needs to interview the employees,” she said. “The only way we ensure safety is to find out what happened – what was done, what was not done.”

NTSB investigators have been at the 737 plant since Sunday conducting interviews.

Before Wednesday’s hearing “Boeing was not aware of any complaints or concerns about a lack of collaboration,” Ojakli wrote, adding Boeing was “committed to continuing to cooperate fully and transparently with the NTSB’s investigation” and had provided “extensive records and documents.”

He wrote that Boeing had previously provided names of dozens of employees on or around “the subject airplane during key periods, such as the shifts on which the door plug was opened and closed, including members of the door crew.”

Ms. Homendy plans to send the Senate her own letter detailing the NTSB’s view of Boeing’s cooperation. An NTSB spokesperson did not immediately comment on Friday but has said she stands by her testimony.



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