Feds Slam Boeing for Withholding Key Documents in 737 Max 9 Probe

Kevin Dietsch/Getty Images
Kevin Dietsch/Getty Images

Boeing has failed to fully cooperate with the federal investigation into the shocking door plug blowout on one of its planes, according to the chair of the U.S. National Transportation Safety Board.

Jennifer Homendy appeared in a Senate hearing on Wednesday, in which she delivered a report on the safety agency’s investigation.

When asked by Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) if all parties had been cooperative with their investigation into the loose door plug on a Boeing 737 Max 9, Homendy said that Boeing has yet to address the NTSB’s requests.

“Boeing has not provided us with the documents and information that we have requested numerous times over the past few months, specifically with respect to opening, closing and removal of the door and the team that does work at the Renton facility,” Homendy said.

“Are you telling us that even two months later, you still do not know who actually opened the door plug?” Cruz asked.

“That’s correct Senator, we don’t know and it’s not for lack of trying,” she said.

“We know for a fact that there is a team that deals with the doors in Renton. There is an entire team of 25 people and a manager,” she said. She explained that the manager had been on medical leave, and they had been unable to interview them. “We don’t have the records, we don’t have the names of the 25 people that [are] in charge of doing that work in that facility.”

The FAA has been very cooperative, according to Homendy. She also said that NTSB investigators were currently in the process of interviewing employees at the Renton facility.

She added that the agency’s investigation into Spirit AeroSystems, which installed the door plug, revealed that the workers involved were contractors from three different companies, information that Spirit had not shared with the NTSB.

During the hearing, U.S. Sen. Ed Markey (D-MA) argued that Boeing had adopted a profit-motivated strategy after its 1997 merger with McDonnell Douglas, an aerospace and defense contractor. “This cultural shift is the systemic rust that allowed the door plug to break loose,” said Markey.

Homendy said the NTSB had “concerns” about the safety culture within Boeing, and that the NTSB would be reviewing it.

In February, Boeing announced the departure of Ed Clark, the head of the company’s 737 Max program at the facility in Renton, Washington.

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