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Boeing probing 'what broke down' in latest incident: CEO

By Agence France-Presse Published Jan 11, 2024 11:05 am

Boeing is still in fact-finding mode following Friday's near-catastrophic aviation incident, searching for "what broke down" in its processes, Chief Executive Dave Calhoun said Wednesday.

Calhoun, in his first media appearance since the Alaska Airlines panel blowout on a Boeing 737 MAX described the problem as a "quality escape" in a 10-minute interview with CNBC.

"We're going to want to know what broke down in our gauntlet of inspections, what broke down in the original work that allowed for that escape to happen," Calhoun said.

Members of the National Transportation Safety Board examine the hole in the fuselage plug area of Alaska Airlines Flight 1282 Boeing 737-9 MAX

On Friday night, Alaska Airlines successfully executed an emergency landing with no fatalities or major injuries after a panel known as a "door plug" came off. 

Video images of the incident showed a gaping hole in the side of the plane and oxygen masks dangling in the suddenly depressurized cabin.

Calhoun, who has vowed "complete transparency," described the event as a "horrible escape," adding that a comprehensive investigation was needed.

NTSB agents inspecting the door plug from Alaska Airlines Flight 1282 on January 8, 2024 after being found in Portland, Oregon

"It certainly can never happen again," he said. 

US regulators have grounded 171 of the 737 MAX 9 planes with the same configuration as the Alaska Airlines jet.

Since the incident, both United Airlines and Alaska Airlines reported Monday finding loose hardware on some of their Boeing 737 MAX 9 planes during preliminary inspections. (AFP)