KUALA LUMPUR, MALAYSIA: The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) of the United States has officially confirmed that the door plug, which blew off Alaska Airlines Flight 1282 Boeing 737 MAX 9, was manufactured in Malaysia.
NTSB Chairman Jennifer Homendy revealed that the component in question was produced by Spirit AeroSystems in Malaysia before making its way to Boeing’s supplier in Wichita, Kansas.
From there, she said, the part was sent to the Boeing assembly line in Renton, Washington.
The NTSB is now actively investigating the manufacturing process, transportation, installation, and deployment of the door plug, and is also scrutinizing the quality checks conducted throughout the supply chain.
“We have no indication right now of where in the process this occurred.”
“This could be anywhere along the line, and we are not just pinpointing manufacturing,” Homendy emphasized after a closed-door briefing with members of the Senate Commerce Committee on Wednesday (17 Jan).
Several senators who attended the briefing raised concerns about the safety of the Boeing 737 MAX 9 and suggested that the jets might need to remain grounded until the investigation identifies the root cause.
Maria Cantwell, the Chairman of the US Senate Commerce Committee, mentioned the possibility of a hearing to examine the Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA) oversight of Boeing’s manufacturing.
Meanwhile, Texas Senator Ted Cruz expressed the need to prevent similar accidents in the future but expressed uncertainty about determining responsibility for this specific incident.
Leani Benitez-Cardona, NTSB aerospace engineer, and Matthew Fox, NTSB chief technical advisor for materials, unpacking the door plug Sunday from Alaska Airlines flight 1282, a Boeing 737-9 MAX, in the materials laboratory at NTSB headquarters in Washington, D.C. pic.twitter.com/rrvxW6EzCT
— NTSB Newsroom (@NTSB_Newsroom) January 14, 2024
CAAM offers assistance to FAA
On 12 January, Transport Minister Anthony Loke, stated that no information had been received regarding the ‘Made in Malaysia’ door plug allegedly blown off the Alaska Airlines flight.
He previously mentioned that the Civil Aviation Authority of Malaysia (CAAM) would investigate if the airline submitted a formal report.
On Friday (19 Jan), Mr Loke announced that CAAM had reached out to the FAA Asia-Pacific office in Singapore following the confirmation by the NTSB that the door plug was manufactured in Malaysia.
“CAAM had proactively reached out to the FAA to offer their assistance following reports that the door plug was confirmed as being made in Malaysia.
“However, they said that they will come back to us should they require assistance,” Loke stated.
He emphasized that even though the door plug was manufactured in Malaysia, it falls under FAA approval.
“So even though it is manufactured in Malaysia, the approval of the product is under FAA. So we have extended our offers for assistance to them,” he added during a press conference.
This follows a report from the Oregon Public Broadcasting (OPB) news portal, where educator Bob Sauer shared his discovery of the detached door plug on 7th January from an Alaska Airlines Boeing 737 MAX 9 aircraft.
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