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FAA ramps up oversight of Boeing's manufacturing procedures

The Federal Aviation Administration said Friday it is ramping up oversight of Boeing manufacturing and production. The announcement comes a day after it launched an investigation into Boeing's 737 Max 9 aircraft in response to last week's incident in which a door panel blew off mid-air on an Alaska Airlines flight.

"It is time to re-examine the delegation of authority and assess any associated safety risks," FAA Administrator Mike Whitaker said in a Friday statement.

Increased inspections into Boeing's manufacturing procedures and operations will be initiated immediately by the FAA, the announcement said, and will include the following: 

  • A compliance audit of the Boeing 737-9 MAX production line and suppliers to make sure it is complying with approved internal quality procedures.
  • Increased monitoring of Boeing 737-9 MAX in-service events.
  • Assessment of safety risks and examination of third-party options.
Dozens of Boeing 737 Max 9 planes grounded after Alaska Airlines scare 07:10

"The grounding of the 737-9 and the multiple production-related issues identified in recent years require us to look at every option to reduce risk. The FAA is exploring the use of an independent third party to oversee Boeing's inspections and its quality system," Whitaker said.

The FAA has temporarily grounded certain Boeing 737 Max 9 planes to conduct its initial inspection. On Thursday, it notified Boeing of the launch of the agency's investigation into whether the company "failed to ensure" the Boeing Model 737-9 MAX conformed to its design and whether its aircraft "were in a condition for safe operation in compliance with FAA regulations." 

"We will cooperate fully and transparently with the FAA and the [National Transportation Safety Board] on their investigations," Boeing said in a statement Thursday.

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