FAA Will Increase Oversight Of Boeing As Administrator Flags ‘Other Manufacturing Problems’

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The Federal Aviation Administration announced Friday it would increase its oversight of Boeing’s manufacturing and production amid its concerns about “other manufacturing problems” at the company, just a day after the agency launched an investigation into the firm following the mid-flight loss of a passenger door on a 737 Max 9 plane last week.

The FAA said it is launching an audit of the Boeing 737 Max 9 production line and its suppliers “to evaluate Boeing’s compliance with its approved quality procedures.”

The agency is also increasing monitoring of 737 Max 9 in-service events and is exploring the use of an independent third party to oversee Boeing’s inspections and quality system.

Meanwhile, FAA Administrator Mike Whitaker told CNBC that the Max 9 plane had “significant problems” and that the FAA believes there are “other manufacturing problems.”

The FAA grounded approximately 171 Boeing 737 Max 9 planes last week after a “plug” passenger door blew open mid-flight on Alaska Airlines 1282 as it traveled from Portland, Oregon to Ontario, California,—those planes remain grounded, and the FAA reiterated Friday that “the safety of the flying public, not speed” will determine when they may fly again.

Forbes has contacted Boeing for comment. But the company said Thursday that it would cooperate “fully and transparently” with both the FAA and National Transportation Safety Board investigations. Boeing CEO Dave Calhoun said in a statement that the company has to work “directly and transparently” with customers to “make sure they understand that every airplane that Boeing has its name on that’s in the sky is in fact safe.” Calhoun also reportedly told employees during a recent meeting that the company had to acknowledge “our mistake” after the incident.

The FAA notified Boeing Thursday that it was investigating whether the company failed to ensure its planes were safe for flying. Both Alaska Airlines and United Airlines—the two U.S. airlines that use the 737 Max 9 planes—have reported finding loose parts on grounded Max 9 aircraft. On Wednesday, Alaska Airlines canceled all flights using Boeing 737 Max 9 planes, awaiting instruction from the FAA. It represents the latest major safety setback for Boeing, which garnered international scrutiny in 2019, after two 737 Max 8 planes were involved in fatal crashes within less than a year.

Six passengers from the Alaska Airlines flight filed a lawsuit against Boeing Thursday, alleging that last week’s incident caused them mental and physical injuries.

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