Boeing At Fault for Alaska Airlines 737 MAX 9 Door Mishap?

Boeing At Fault for Alaska Airlines 737 MAX 9 Door Mishap
Photo Credit: Boeing.

A story from The Seattle Times has mentioned that Boeing, and not Spirit AeroSystems, is at fault for the Alaska Airlines 737 MAX 9 door mishap. What consequences does this have?

This piece will take a look at what has been mentioned, as well as what implications this could have for the American planemaker moving forward.

Without further ado, let’s get into it…

Boeing At Fault for Alaska Airlines 737 MAX 9 Door Mishap…

Boeing At Fault for Alaska Airlines 737 MAX 9 Door Mishap
Photo Credit: NTSB

The report from Dominic Gates states that the inactive door that blew off Alaska Airlines flight AS1282 was removed for repair then reinstalled improperly by Boeing mechanics.

In terms of what the whistle-blower said, it does not give a good impression of the American planemaker in the context of quality assurance and build safety:

“The reason the door blew off is stated in black and white in Boeing’s own records”.

“It is also very, very stupid and speaks volumes about the quality culture at certain portions of the business.”

On top of this, the four bolts that prevent the door plug from sliding up the door frame stop pads “were not installed when Boeing delivered the airplane”.

Detrimental Consequences for the American Planemaker?

Boeing At Fault for Alaska Airlines 737 MAX 9 Door Mishap
Photo Credit: NTSB.
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If the NTSB, who is investigating the incident, then this could have detrimental consequences for the American planemaker once again when it comes to the 737 MAX program and the recent incident involving Alaska Airlines flight AS1282.

This is on top of what has happened in the aftermath of the incident as well, featuring temporary groundings of the MAX 9 variant.

Earlier this week, United Airlines CEO Scott Kirby has expressed his disappointment in the ongoing manufacturing problems being experienced by major US plane manufacturer Boeing.

Speaking this week on CNBC, the airline CEO said that United would consider alternatives to a newer version of the Boeing 737 MAX aircraft in the future, following this incident involving the Alaska Airlines Boeing 737 MAX 9.

On Tuesday this week, Kirby said on CNBC that United Airlines would consider alternatives to buying a future version of the Boeing 737 MAX aircraft.

Kirby’s observation of the implications for future procurement decisions comes shortly after the disclosure that United now expects to lose money for the first quarter from January to March as a result of the groundings of its Boeing 737 MAX 9 airplanes.

The carrier anticipates that the planes will remain grounded until around 26 January, and its forecasting makes provision for the fact that the aircraft won’t fly at all this month.

A significant number of flights were cancelled through January as a result of the mandatory grounding directive caused by the incident onboard Alaska Airlines flight AS1282.

Kirby previously disclosed that the airline would not be considering cancelling its current open orders with Boeing, however his comments this week suggest that future fleet purchasing decisions would be colored by the current issues.

Whilst the grounding has centred around 171 MAX 9 variants which are equipped with a door plug assembly in the aft cabin recess, the FAA has this week extended recommended inspections to the older Boeing 737-900ER model equipped with a similar door plug design.

Whilst this model is not subject to the more extreme grounding issue which the MAX 9 is subject to, this week’s FAA safety directive calls for 737-900ER operators to carry out visual inspections of the subject door plug assembly.

What Next for Boeing?

Photo Credit: Boeing.

Once again, Boeing comes into the limelight again over the 737 MAX issues and the consequences that are surrounding it.

Their CEO Dave Calhoun spoke to reporters on Capitol Hill yesterday and said he will not support flying it’s planes unless he has a 100% confidence rate in their safety, which he then confirmed to reporters that he believes that their aircraft are safe.

Looking ahead, all eyes will be on what happens next, as the investigation by the NTSB is yet to be concluded.

However, it is clear that more fall out is due to come from the Alaska Airlines flight AS1282 saga, and whatever happens, Boeing needs to be prepared for what comes with that, that’s for sure.

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By James Field - Editor in Chief 5 Min Read
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