FAA Chief Heads to Seattle for Boeing Discussions Next Week

The head of the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), Michael Whitaker, is set to visit Seattle early next week to conduct an audit of Boeing's aircraft production process. This comes after a mid-air emergency incident that occurred on a Boeing aircraft with the registration number 737 MAX. The FAA has planned to inspect the production of the same aircraft model, specifically, the one that encountered the emergency incident.


Boeing is responsible for producing the 737 MAX in the Seattle area, and on January 5th, one of its 737 MAX 9 jets experienced a problem where a panel detached during a flight. Two sources have confirmed that Whitaker is expected to visit the Renton Boeing factory, which is located approximately nine miles from Seattle and is where the 737 is assembled.


Last month, Whitaker took an unprecedented step by prohibiting Boeing from expanding the production of its 737 MAX until it addressed the quality issues. This followed an incident where a cabin panel blew out during a flight on a new Alaska Airlines MAX 9. In a statement, the FAA mentioned that "as part of the FAA's continuous work to enhance safety, Administrator Mike Whitaker will visit the Seattle, Washington, area early next week to hear directly from FAA employees and visit FAA facilities in the area. He will also visit Boeing." However, Boeing has declined to comment on the matter.


Currently, the FAA has around 20 inspectors at Boeing's 737 factories in Renton, Washington, and six at Spirit AeroSystems in Wichita, Kansas. Whitaker has stated that they are about halfway through a six-week audit process. The visit to Seattle is part of the ongoing efforts by the FAA to ensure the safety of passengers and enhance the quality of aircraft produced by Boeing.

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