Boeing 737-900ER: Second model to be inspected after 737 Max 9 blowout
Checks will be conducted on a second model of Boeing aircraft in the wake of an incident earlier this month where an unused door blew out on one of its planes.
The US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) grounded over 170 planes from the 737 Max 9 fleet after a cabin panel detached at a high altitude.
Now, the FAA has directed airlines to inspect older 737-900ER models that utilize a similar door design as an “added layer of safety.”
While there have been no reported problems with the 737-900ER, it employs the same type of panel used to secure an unused door, similar to the one involved in the alarming incident on January 5.
This incident, involving an Alaska Airlines flight, led to an emergency landing and the subsequent grounding of all 737 Max 9s featuring the same panel design, impacting Boeing’s stock value.
The FAA is currently investigating Boeing’s manufacturing practices and production lines, including those associated with subcontractor Spirit AeroSystems, responsible for providing the panel.
Earlier this week, the FAA said it had inspected 40 of the grounded planes but did not say when they would be able to fly again.
In a statement on Sunday, the agency said: “The safety of the flying public, not speed, will determine the timeline for returning these aircraft to service.”
Boeing has said it will increase the quality of inspections in its manufacturing process in the wake of the incident.
The 737-900ER models have carried out 11 million hours of operations without similar incidents to the newer 737 Max 9s.
The FAA did not order the older model to be grounded while operators carry out the visual inspections.