Alaska Airlines 737 MAX 9 fuselage maker Spirit responds to plug door blowout

Spirit AeroSystems 737 MAX

The company that built and supplied the fuselage for the Alaska Airlines Boeing 737 MAX 9 that lost one its plug doors shortly after takeoff has issued a statement.  

Spirit AeroSystems also supplied the plug door that became separated from the Boeing 737 MAX 9 and will play a crucial role in the accident investigation. 

In the statement published on January 8, 2024, Spirit AeroSystems reaffirmed its commitment to Boeing and finding out what caused the door plug to break away from the fuselage.   

“Spirit is a committed partner with Boeing on the 737 program, and we continue to work together with them on this matter. Spirit is following the protocols set by the regulatory authorities that guide communication in these types of circumstances and we will share further information when appropriate,” Spirit AeroSystems said.  

The company also thanked the Alaska Airlines crew who were able to “land the airplane with all passengers and crew safe”. 

“At Spirit AeroSystems, our primary focus is the quality and product integrity of the aircraft structures we deliver,” Spirit added.  

According to Reuters, although Spirit AeroSystems built and initially installed the plug door, a source told the news organization that Boeing typically removes the plug door to load articles into the cabin.  

The source said that the fuselages are sent to Boeing with the plug door assembly “semi-rigged”. 

On January 7, 2024, the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) announced that the door plug from the Alaska Airlines Boeing 737 MAX 9 had been found.  

The NTSB also said that the cockpit voice recorder’s recording of the event had been inadvertently lost.  

On January 6, 2024, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) issued an Emergency Airworthiness Directive (EAD) for inspections to be carried out on 171 Boeing 737 MAX 9 jets worldwide.    

The Alaska Airlines jet at the center of the incident left Portland International Airport (PDX) on January 5, 2024, just after 5 pm local time but shortly after takeoff a plug door separated from the aircraft.    

The Alaska Airlines aircraft involved in the incident, registered as N704AL, was delivered by Boeing to the carrier in October 2023 and entered service on November 11, 2023.    

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