The Federal Aviation Administration requires airlines to check door seals on Boeing 737-900ER aircraft

The Federal Aviation Administration requires airlines to check door seals on Boeing 737-900ER aircraft

The Federal Aviation Administration recommended late Sunday night that airlines begin visual inspections of door seals installed on Boeing 737-900ER planes, the second Boeing model to come under scrutiny this month.

The Federal Aviation Administration said the plane has the same door seal design as the company’s newest 737 Max 9 planes. The agency grounded about 170 Max 9 planes after the door panel of one of the planes blew off shortly after an Alaska Airlines flight departed Portland, Oregon, in January 5, had to make an emergency landing.

The door stoppers are positioned as a panel where an emergency door would be if the plane was equipped with more seats.

After grounding the Max 9 planes, the FAA later announced that it was investigating whether Boeing had failed to ensure that the plane was safe and consistent with the design approved by the agency.

The FAA said Sunday that the door plug on the 737-900ER, a previous-generation model and not part of Boeing’s MAX line, has not been a problem so far.

“As an additional layer of safety, the FAA recommends that operators of Boeing 737-900ER aircraft visually inspect the center exit door seals to ensure the door is properly secured,” the agency said in a statement.

The FAA recommends that airlines flying the 737-900ER immediately inspect the four locations used to secure the door plug to the airframe. The 737-900ER has more than 11 million operating hours and about four million flight cycles, according to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). Boeing delivered about 500 of the planes globally between 2007 and 2019, although not all of them had door jacks.

“We fully support the FAA and our customers in this action,” Boeing said in a statement.

Alaska Airlines and United Airlines, which operate the 737-900ER, said in statements that they had already begun examining this model in their fleets. Delta Air Lines, which also flies the plane, said it “chose to take proactive measures to inspect our 737-900ER fleet.” None of the airlines expected any disruptions to their operations.

The incident involving an Alaska Airlines 737 MAX 9 flight this month did not result in any serious injuries, but it could have been much more serious if the plane had been at cruising altitude. The National Transportation Safety Board is investigating the incident in hopes of finding out what caused the plane’s door seal to explode.

Meanwhile, the FAA recently ordered an initial round of inspections on 40 grounded Max 9 planes, as it works to finalize inspection instructions for the plane. The agency announced last week that those inspections had been completed and that it would review the data from them.

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