Boeing unable to provide key records in door plug blowout probe, says safety board

Boeing unable to provide key records in door plug blowout probe, says safety board
Boeing unable to provide key records in door plug blowout probe, says safety board

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Nevin Al Sukari - Sana'a - Aviation giant Boeing has been unable to produce key information about work performed on an Alaska Airlines plane before a January mid-air scare, the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) chair said yesterday. — AFP pic

NEW YORK, March 14 — Aviation giant Boeing has been unable to produce key information about work performed on an Alaska Airlines plane before a January mid-air scare, the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) chair said yesterday.

“The absence of those records will complicate the NTSB’s investigation moving forward,” chair Jennifer Homendy said of the ongoing probe.

In the near-catastrophic incident on January 5, a Boeing 737 MAX 9 operated by Alaska Airlines was forced to make an emergency landing after a panel on the jet’s fuselage blew out.

There were no serious injuries.

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In a letter addressed to leaders of the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee, Homendy said the door plug that failed had been opened so rivet repair work could be done in September last year.

The work took place at Boeing’s Renton, Washington facility before delivery to Alaska Airlines.

“To date, we still do not know who performed the work to open, reinstall, and close the door plug on the accident aircraft,” Homendy said.

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Boeing told the NTSB it could not find records documenting the work, she added.

Although investigators requested security camera footage, they were informed the footage had been overwritten, the letter said.

In response to queries, Boeing said it has been “transparent and proactive” in supporting regulatory inquiries on the incident.

The company added that video recordings are maintained on a rolling 30-day basis.

According to Homendy’s letter, the NTSB first asked for related documents on January 9. Boeing provided the names of people who might bring insights on February 2.

Investigators also requested the names of all staff who reported to the door crew manager in September 2023, although a list produced subsequently did not identify which people handled the door plug work.

Homendy stressed that the NTSB is not seeking names for punitive reasons, but to “speak with them to learn about Boeing’s quality-assurance processes and safety culture.”

Earlier this month, Homendy blasted the aviation giant for not providing key information quickly. — AFP

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