Alaska Airlines Assists DOJ in Boeing 737 MAX Blowout Investigation

Alaska Airlines has recently announced its cooperation with the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) in a criminal investigation into a blowout incident involving a Boeing 737 MAX on one of its flights in January. This event has sparked significant attention, given the history of the Boeing 737 MAX aircraft. The incident in question occurred on a flight that had to make an emergency landing in Portland, Oregon after a fuselage panel ripped off midair. The blowout led to the temporary grounding of 171 narrowbody Max 9 jets with a similar configuration by the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).


In response to the incident, Alaska Airlines resumed Max 9 service on January 26, after it stated it had completed inspections on the first group of its Boeing 737 Max 9 aircraft. However, the U.S. National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) later reported that the door panel that flew off appeared to be missing four key bolts. The plug was manufactured by Spirit AeroSystems, a one-time subsidiary of Boeing that separated from its parent in 2005.

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The DOJ's investigation will inform its review of whether Boeing complied with an earlier settlement that resolved a federal investigation following two fatal 737 Max crashes in 2018 and 2019. The investigators have contacted some passengers and crew on the January 5 flight.

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Alaska Airlines has stated that it is fully cooperating with the DOJ and does not believe it is a target of the investigation. The airline's cooperation is seen as a standard procedure in such events. Boeing and DOJ did not immediately respond to requests for comments. This incident adds to the ongoing scrutiny of Boeing's safety practices and procedures. The findings of the DOJ's investigation will undoubtedly have implications for the aviation industry and potentially lead to further regulatory changes to ensure passenger safety.

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