Efforts to get Boeing’s 737 Max 9 cleared to fly were delayed again Tuesday after the Federal Aviation Administration said instructions the company sent to airlines on Monday to inspect the planes were inadequate.
“Boeing introduced an initial version of the guidance yesterday, which they are now revising due to the feedback they received,” the FAA said in a statement. “Upon receipt of a revised version of the guidance from Boeing, the FAA will conduct a thorough review. Flying public safety, not speed, will dictate the timeline for returning the Boeing 737-9 Max to service.
The FAA said Saturday it would require inspections of planes after a plane panel exploded during an Alaska Airlines flight on Friday. Although no serious injuries were reported, the incident exposed passengers to high winds and raised new concerns about safety practices at Boeing. The company has struggled to regain public trust after two crashes involving the Boeing 737 Max 8 in 2018 and 2019 killed 346 people.
Alaska Airlines and United Airlines, the two largest operators of the Max 9, said Monday that they had found loose parts, also known as door plugs, during initial inspections of the panels. This part is installed where an emergency exit would be if the maximum number of seats in the aircraft were possible.
National Transportation Safety Board investigators have recovered the door plug, but said Monday they were still searching for some related parts.
Boeing Chief Executive Dave Calhoun is expected to address employees Tuesday afternoon at a town-hall meeting in the Seattle area where the company makes many of its planes, including the Max. Mr Calhoun took charge of the company in January 2020 after his predecessor was ousted during the first Max crisis.
This is a developing story. Please check back for updates.