FAA Orders Inspection of Door Plugs on Another Boeing Model

    FAA Orders Inspection of Door Plugs on Another Boeing Model
    Photo: AaronP/Bauer-Griffin/GC Images via Getty Images

    The Facts

    • The US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) on Sunday ordered inspections take place on Boeing 737-900ER aircraft as "an added layer of safety" to make sure their mid-exit door plugs are securing the door properly.

    • The announcement comes after more than 170 of Boeing's 737 Max 9 planes were grounded, after a door plug operated by Alaska Airlines blew off during a Jan. 5 flight. However, the FAA has said there have been no issues with door plugs on the 900ERs, of which Boeing has delivered 500 between 2007 and 2019.

    The Spin

    Narrative A

    Any news of incidents during flights will draw public scrutiny and fear, but it's important to take a step back and look at the overall safety record of US commercial planes. According to the same agency investigating Boeing, the number of annual flight accidents has dropped from 1.8K two decades ago to 1.2K today and, of those, 95% occurred on private noncommercial, agriculture, or on-demand air-taxi flights. While issues can occur, flying is still one of the safest transportation methods around.

    Narrative B

    Boeing was once a beloved company producing the most advanced and safest aircraft in the world. This was due to its policy of prioritizing safety in manufacturing, something that changed after the company began outsourcing manufacturing to companies like Spirit in 2005. As this corporate environment has distanced the company further from its roots, its old generation of safety-focused employees has also chosen to retire. Boeing can be great again, but to do so it must stop putting cost-effectiveness over quality engineering.

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