The Federal Aviation Administration announced Monday that it will begin taking a closer look at Boeing’s 737 Max 9 planes.
“The FAA is increasing its oversight of Boeing’s production lines and suppliers and is restricting certain approvals until it is confident that quality control issues discovered during this process have been resolved,” the administration said.
It follows the January 5 disaster that saw a door panel blow off an Alaska Airlines plane carrying 177 people. The airline’s CEO, Ben Minicucci, said the carrier is conducting new, internal inspections of the Boeing 737. The Max 9 aircraft appeared following the incident “Most” of the plane was found to have loose bolts.
Since then, Alaska Airlines and United Airlines have both confirmed plans to bring back their fleets Commissioning of Boeing 737 Max 9 aircraft.
The FAA has already inspected Alaska and United Airlines planes and returned 93.75%, or 135 of 144, to service, according to Jodi Baker, the FAA’s deputy assistant administrator for Aviation Safety.
However, the administration’s increased surveillance of the plane is only three weeks old and “it’s too early to draw any conclusions,” Baker said at a news briefing. The FAA will “address concerns as they arise,” it said.
“It’s not a new job to understand how airplanes are made, and we have the expertise to do it,” Baker said.
The FAA is focused on hiring more workers at the Boeing Renton Factory to help with oversight and streamline the data collection process.
Baker said the administration wants to “enhance greater interaction and more direct observation of the work being done” at Boeing.
The administration expects the review process to take six weeks.