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FAA recommends airlines inspect door plugs of Boeing 737-900ER jets

The Federal Aviation Administration on Sunday night recommended that operators of Boeing's 737-900ER inspect their door plugs, as they are of the same design as the one that blew off the Alaska Airlines Flight 1282 Boeing 737-9 MAX earlier this month. Photo courtesy of NTSB/UPI
The Federal Aviation Administration on Sunday night recommended that operators of Boeing's 737-900ER inspect their door plugs, as they are of the same design as the one that blew off the Alaska Airlines Flight 1282 Boeing 737-9 MAX earlier this month. Photo courtesy of NTSB/UPI | License Photo

Jan. 22 (UPI) -- The Federal Aviation Administration late Sunday recommended airlines operating Boeing 737-900ER jets inspect their door plugs, which have the same design as the grounded 737 Max 9 fleet.

The FAA directed operators of the 737-900ER aircraft in a statement to "visually inspect mid-exit door plugs to ensure the door is properly secured," describing the recommendation as "an added layer of safety."

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The Safety Alert for Operators states that the door plug should be inspected to ensure that it is "restrained from any movements" by the two upper guide track bolts and the two lower arrestor bolts.

The federal agency said the cause of the recommendation is that the aircraft shares the same door plug design as the 737 Max 9, which has been grounded since Jan. 7, two days after the door plug of an Alaska Airlines jet blew off mid-flight.

The door plug is a panel installed where an optional emergency exit can be located on the fuselage of the jet.

The FAA has grounded some 170 of the 737 Max 9s until it can ensure they can operate safely, it said.

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Additional inspections have been ordered since the Alaska Airlines incident, including for the 737-900ER, despite it not being a part of the newer Max 9 fleet, the FAA said Sunday.

"We fully support the FAA and our customers in this action," a Boeing representative told UPI in an emailed statement.

Representatives of Alaska Airlines, United Airlines and Delta Air Lines, which operate the 737-900ER aircraft, told The New York Times in separate statements that inspections of the door plugs were underway.

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