Maker of Part That Flew Off Plane Was Previously Sued

Maker of Part That Flew Off Plane Was Previously Sued

( – The company that produced the door plugs that caused an emergency grounding of Boeing 737 Max 9 aircraft was previously sued for low-quality products. Spirit Aerosystems is the leading supplier of fuselage parts to Boeing, and its investors filed a lawsuit against the company just weeks before a door plug detached after take-off from Portland on January 7. The Alaska Airlines flight, en route to California, was forced to return to Portland but landed safely. The plane’s lost part crashed into the backyard of a Portland resident.

The incident caused the grounding of all Boeing 737 Max 9 aircraft, and hundreds of flights were canceled or rescheduled. Alaska Airlines canceled 170 scheduled flights, while United Airlines, the only other US company using the Max 9, was forced to cancel 180.

Documents related to the investor lawsuit, which was filed in 2023, state that concerns about the quality of Spirit Aerosystems products have long been voiced, particularly in light of two crashes in 2018 and 2019 that killed hundreds of people.

In 2020, a House of Representatives report into two Boeing 737 Max crashes that killed 346 people blamed the parts manufacturer for substandard products, as well as the Federal Aviation Authority (FAA) for “repeated and serious failures.”

The accidents happened in Indonesia in October 2018 and Ethiopia in March 2019. They were attributed to “a horrific culmination of a series of faulty technical assumptions by Boeing’s engineers, a lack of transparency on the part of Boeing’s management, and grossly insufficient oversight by the FAA,” according to the House report. It also claimed that Boeing appeared to prioritize cost-cutting over safety.

According to an NBC News report from 2020, Democratic chairman Rep. Peter DeFazio said Boeing was cutting corners because it was under pressure to compete with Airbus and produce profits for Wall Street. He said Boeing and the FAA had gambled with public safety; the federal authority replied that it would make future improvements and looked forward to working on the issues identified in the report.

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