US halts production expansion of Boeing 737 MAX 9 after fuselage detachment

Following a string of high-profile accidents, some deadly, the US announced that it will not allow expanded production for MAX series aircraft, including Boeing 737 MAX 9, in order to improve quality control, News.Az reports citing Anadolu Agency. 

A statement on the measure from the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) cited a Jan. 5 incident where a piece detached from the fuselage of a Boeing 737 MAX 9 during flight, stressing that such a thing should never happen again. There were no fatalities from the incident.

The announcement said the FAA has announced additional measures to ensure the safety of each aircraft and informed Boeing that expanded production of MAX series aircraft, including the 737 MAX 9, will not be allowed.

It added that the FAA has approved a comprehensive inspection and maintenance process for each of the 171 737 MAX 9 aircraft not permitted to fly, and those successfully passing inspections can return to service.

FAA head Mike Whitaker said they will not accept any request from Boeing to expand production or approve additional production lines for the 737 MAX until they are convinced that quality control issues have been resolved.

In the US on Jan. 5, part of the fuselage of an Alaska Airlines Boeing 737 MAX 9 passenger plane detached in mid-flight.

The plane, en route from Oregon to California, had to make an emergency landing about 35 minutes after takeoff. The aircraft safely landed with 171 passengers and six cabin crew members.

The 737 Max model first took to the air in 2017. A crash in Indonesia in 2018 and another in Ethiopia in 2019 took a total of 346 lives.

All Max jets were grounded worldwide for nearly two years while the company made changes to an automated flight-control system that pushed the nose down based on faulty sensor readings.

The company faced substantial financial losses and was sued by numerous relatives of the victims.

News.Az 

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