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Boeing encounters additional challenges in delivering 737 Max aircraft to China after a cabin panel experiences a blowout

Boeing faces renewed challenges in resuming deliveries of its 737 Max jets to China after a recent incident involving an Alaska Airlines 737 MAX 9. China Southern Airlines, anticipating plane deliveries in January, is now set to conduct additional safety inspections on the aircraft, sources familiar with the matter reported.

The setback comes in response to a mid-air blowout of a cabin panel on an Alaska Airlines MAX 9 earlier this month. In light of this incident, Boeing is implementing additional quality inspections for the 737 MAX. Stan Deal, the president of Boeing Commercial Airplanes, announced on Monday that a team will be sent to supplier Spirit AeroSystems, responsible for manufacturing and installing the door plug implicated in the incident. This team will review and approve Spirit’s work before fuselages are sent to Boeing’s production facilities in Washington state.

Boeing’s actions follow the Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA) decision to extend the grounding of 171 MAX 9 planes indefinitely for new safety checks. The FAA specified that it would review the results after inspecting 40 planes before determining if the MAX 9s could resume flying.



Explained | How is the panel that blew off a plane made, and how did it  break?
Explained | How is the panel that blew off a plane made, and how did it break?

In addition to door plug inspections, Boeing teams will examine 50 other points in Spirit’s production process. Both Boeing and Spirit will open their 737 production facilities to airline customers for independent inspections. Boeing plans to conduct employee sessions on quality management and enlist an outside party for an independent assessment of its production process.

The FAA also announced plans to audit the Boeing 737 MAX 9 production line and suppliers, exploring the possibility of having an independent entity take over certain aircraft certification responsibilities previously assigned to Boeing.

Recognizing the need for increased scrutiny, Boeing disclosed plans to enhance its number of quality inspectors by 20% since 2019 and make additional investments in its quality units.

China Southern Airlines, expecting to receive planes in January, now faces delays due to the additional safety inspections. The incident involving the Alaska Airlines MAX 9 has prompted concerns among airlines and regulatory authorities, leading to comprehensive reviews and measures to ensure the safety of the 737 MAX fleet.

The move to extend the grounding of the MAX 9 planes underscores the importance of stringent safety protocols and inspections in the aviation industry. Boeing, a key player in the aerospace sector, is taking proactive steps to address quality concerns and restore confidence in the safety of its aircraft.

As the aviation industry navigates challenges and works towards maintaining the highest safety standards, collaborative efforts between manufacturers, regulators, and airlines play a crucial role in ensuring the well-being of passengers and the integrity of the global air travel system.

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