Horst D. Deckert

Boeing Faces Further Setbacks as New Inspections Pile On


Aerospace manufacturer plagued by safety issues amid questions about company’s obsession with DEI

In a development underscoring ongoing safety issues, Boeing is compelled to subject an additional aircraft model to inspections following a significant malfunction where a door unexpectedly blew out on one of its planes this month.

In a development that highlights ongoing safety issues, Boeing is being forced to inspect another aircraft model after a major malfunction in which a door unexpectedly blew out on one of its planes this month.

Expanding the scope of oversight, the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) now requires inspection of the older 737-900ER models, which share the same door design implicated in the alarming episode. The move, while billed as a safety improvement, casts a shadow over Boeing’s manufacturing standards, especially after the dramatic episode forced an Alaska Airlines flight to make an emergency landing due to a gaping hole left by the detached panel.

The grounding of Boeing’s 737 Max 9 fleet due to a safety incident has highlighted the company’s challenges, including scrutiny of its production quality and subcontractor Spirit AeroSystems. While the FAA has not grounded the 737-900ER models, its demand for inspections signals doubts about Boeing’s commitment to safety. This situation reflects a reactive approach by Boeing against a backdrop of eroding confidence, with the FAA’s focus on safety highlighting the hurdles Boeing must overcome to regain confidence in the reliability of its airplanes.

On January 5, Alaska Airlines Flight 1282, carrying 171 passengers and six crew members, made an emergency landing in Oregon after part of the fuselage, including a window, broke off in midair. No injuries were reported at the time, but several days later some passengers filed a lawsuit against the jet’s manufacturer, seeking compensation for physical, emotional and economic damages. The FAA ordered the grounding of all Boeing 737 MAX 9 aircraft in the United States.

This is the second recent incident involving MAX airplanes. In late December 2023, Boeing asked operators to inspect their 737 MAX aircraft for a “possible loose bolt” that is part of the rudder control system after discovering a bolt with a missing nut during routine maintenance.

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