The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) announced on Tuesday that the emergency door plug that flew off during an Alaska Airlines flight had no bolts installed, according to a preliminary report.
In January, the emergency door plug was ripped off the aircraft mid-flight, resulting in many of Boeing’s MAX 9s being grounded by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). The report explained that the board had found photographic evidence showing the bolts were not installed in the 737 while it was in Renton, Washington, but did not disclose at what stage of the manufacturing process the plane was in at the time.
“Photo documentation obtained from Boeing shows evidence of the left-hand MED plug closed with no retention hardware (bolts) in the three visible locations,” the report states.
The plug was made by Spirit AeroSystems Malaysia on March 24, 2023, according to the report, and was received by Spirit AeroSystems Wichita on May 10, 2023, before being installed on the Spirit AeroSystems Fuselage Line 8789 and then sent to Boeing on August 20, 2023.hoto by PATRICK T. FALLON/AFP via Getty Images)
In a statement Tuesday, Boeing said the company “appreciates” the board’s report and Dave Calhoun, president and CEO of Boeing, said that the company is “accountable for what happened.”
“Whatever final conclusions are reached, Boeing is accountable for what happened. An event like this must not happen on an airplane that leaves our factory. We simply must do better for our customers and their passengers. We are implementing a comprehensive plan to strengthen quality and the confidence of our stakeholders. It will take significant, demonstrated action and transparency at every turn – and that is where we are squarely focused,” Calhoun said.
The FAA announced on Jan. 24 that it would not allow the expansion of the Boeing MAX line of planes but that older planes could begin to be used again after a thorough inspection. Several airlines announced shortly after that they had begun clearing their planes and would begin to put them back into service in the coming weeks.
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