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FAA to increase oversight of Boeing's manufacturing after Alaska Airlines incident

The Federal Aviation Administration Friday announced "new and significant" oversight actions of Boeing aircraft production one day after it launched an investigation into the mid-flight loss of a door panel from a 737-9 Max passenger jet. Photo by NTSB/UPI
The Federal Aviation Administration Friday announced "new and significant" oversight actions of Boeing aircraft production one day after it launched an investigation into the mid-flight loss of a door panel from a 737-9 Max passenger jet. Photo by NTSB/UPI | License Photo

Jan. 12 (UPI) -- The Federal Aviation Administration said Friday it is acting to immediately increase oversight of Boeing's production and manufacturing after one of its aircraft lost its door plug mid-flight last week.

The "new and significant" actions, include an audit of the Boeing 737-9 Max production line as well as parts suppliers for the plane in order to evaluate Boeing's actual compliance with approved quality control procedures.

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The FAA will also increase its monitoring of all 737-9 Max in-service events and assess safety risks related to delegated authority and quality oversight at Boeing.

That will include taking a look at options to possibly "move those functions under independent, third-party entities."

"It is time to re-examine the delegation of authority and assess any associated safety risks," FAA Administrator Mike Whitaker said in a statement. "The grounding of the 737-9 and the multiple production-related issues identified in recent years require us to look at every option to reduce risk."

Whitaker added that the FAA is exploring using an independent third party to oversee Boeing's own inspections and quality control system.

The increased FAA oversight comes a day after the FAA announced an investigation into Boeing, following the door panel incident on one of its Boeing 737-9 Max planes to determine whether the company failed to ensure that its finished airliners were in compliance with the agency's regulations.

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The FAA also moved to ground 171 of the 737-9 Max planes after the incident that occurred as the flight from Portland, Ore., to Ontario, Calif., was about 16,000 feet in the air after takeoff.

"The safety of the flying public, not speed, will determine the timeline for returning the Boeing 737-9 MAX to service," the FAA said.

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