The Federal Aviation Administration said Wednesday that the initial round of inspections for 40 Boeing 737 Max 9 planes has been completed, but those planes and several other Max 9 planes will remain grounded as the agency finalizes the inspection process for them.
On Friday, the FAA announced that it needed 40 inspections before it could approve new inspection and maintenance instructions developed by Boeing. The agency grounded 171 Max 9 planes this month after a door panel on an Alaska Airlines flight flew off after takeoff from Portland, Oregon, forcing an emergency landing.
In its statement Wednesday, the FAA said it would review data from 40 inspections, and the 737 Max 9 planes with the door panels will be grounded until the agency signs off on instructions to airlines to inspect the planes. The door panels go where the emergency exit door would be in a different configuration of the aircraft.
“The safety of the flying public, not speed, will dictate the timeline for returning these aircraft to service,” the agency said in a statement.
Last week, the FAA announced it was investigating whether Boeing failed to ensure that the 737 Max 9 was safe and conformed to agency-approved designs. The incident involving the Alaska Airlines flight resulted in no serious injuries, but it could have been very serious if it had occurred while the plane was at its flying altitude.
In its statement Wednesday, the FAA said it is “investigating Boeing’s manufacturing practices and production lines, including that of subcontractor Spirit AeroSystems,” which produces the 737 Max’s fuselage.
Spirit AeroSystems spokesman Joe Buccino said in a statement that the company is “supporting Boeing’s efforts with the FAA and affected airlines as they inspect the 737-9 fleet and work to safely return those airplanes to service.” “Work for.”