Late on Sunday night, the Federal Aviation Administration—which is the second Boeing model to be scrutinized this month—recommended that airlines start visual examinations of the door plugs fitted on Boeing 737-900ER aircraft.
The aircraft, according to the Federal Aviation Administration, shares the same door plug design as the 737 Max 9, which caused 171 of its aircraft to be grounded on January 5 after a door panel on one of the aircraft was blasted off, necessitating an emergency landing.
Where an emergency door would normally be on a plane with more seats, the door plugs are installed as a panel.
Following this, the Federal Aviation Safety Agency grounded the 737 Max 9 fleet and declared it was looking into Boeing’s possible failure to ensure the aircraft was safe and adhered to the agency’s approved design.
The door plug on the 737-900ER, which is not a part of the Boeing Max series, has not yet caused an issue, the Federal Aviation Administration stated on Sunday.
“As an added layer of safety, the Federal Aviation Administration is recommending that operators of Boeing 737-900ER aircraft visually inspect mid-exit door plugs to ensure the door is properly secured,” the agency said in a statement.
The airlines operating Boeing 737-900ER are advised by the Federal Aviation Administration to check the four points where the door plug is fastened to the aircraft right away. The F.A.A. estimates that the Boeing 737-900ER has flown over four million times and logged over 11 million hours of operation.
Boeing released a statement saying, “We fully support the F.A.A. and our customers in this action.”
The 737-900ER is operated by Alaska Airlines, United Airlines, and Delta Air Lines. All three airlines indicated in statements that they had already begun inspecting the door plugs on their aircraft. None of them anticipates having their business operations disrupted.
Although there were no significant injuries from the incident involving the Alaska Airlines 737 Max 9 flight earlier this month, things could have turned out far worse had it happened while the aircraft was at its cruise altitude. To find out why the door plug was ejected from the aircraft, the National Transportation Safety Board is looking into the event.
While it works to prepare final inspection instructions for the aircraft, the F.A.A. recently ordered an initial wave of inspections of 40 of the grounded Boeing 737 Max 9.