Malaysia-Made Door Plug Under Investigation in Boeing 737 MAX 9 Incident

A door plug from an Alaska Airlines Boeing 737 MAX 9, which had to make an emergency landing in Portland, Oregon, was found to have been produced in Malaysia, as stated by a U.S. agency. Jennifer Homendy, the chairperson of the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), informed The Wall Street Journal that the door plug was made by Spirit AeroSystems in Malaysia before it was sent to Boeing's supplier in Wichita, Kansas. 


Homendy mentioned that the NTSB's investigation would scrutinize every aspect of the door plug's lifecycle, from its production and transportation to its installation and usage, including all quality checks conducted. She clarified that they currently have no specific indication of where in this process the issue occurred, and they are not solely focusing on the manufacturing stage.

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Following a private briefing with the Senate Commerce Committee, Homendy shared these details. Some senators suggested that the jets may need to stay grounded until the root cause is identified. Maria Cantwell, the chair of the U.S. Senate Commerce Committee, hinted at a possible hearing to scrutinize the Federal Aviation Administration's oversight of Boeing's manufacturing process. Senator Ted Cruz expressed the need to prevent future similar incidents but was unsure about who would be held accountable for this specific incident.

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Transport Minister Loke Siew Fook stated last Friday that he had not been informed about the "Made in Malaysia" label on the door plug. He said that the Civil Aviation Authority of Malaysia (CAAM) would investigate if a formal report was submitted by the concerned airline. This statement followed a report by Oregon Public Broadcasting (OPB) about a Portland school teacher, Bob Sauer, who allegedly discovered the detached door plug in his backyard. Sauer was reportedly intrigued by the manufacturing details, including the "Made in Malaysia" inscription, written on the door in permanent marker. The New Straits Times reported that Spirit AeroSystems declined to comment on the inscription and the incident involving Alaska Airlines, but confirmed their close cooperation with the NTSB's investigation team.

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