Boeing: 737 MAX-9 Door Plug Documents Don’t Exist!

By Spyros Georgilidakis | March 9, 2024

Boeing hasn’t delivered key documents to the NTSB regarding the 737 MAX-9 door plug blowout, because they were never created, says Boeing.

It is over two months since the in-flight emergency of an Alaska Airlines Boeing 737 MAX-9, whose left mid-cabin exit door plug blew off the aircraft during its climb. Boeing was quick to accept responsibility for the event and stated that it would fully cooperate with the NTSB and the FAA.

Boeing: 737 MAX-9 Door Plug Documents Don’t Exist!
Photo: NTSB

But in the last few days, the NTSB has called this into question. In a Senate hearing, NTSB chair Jennifer Homendy said that Boeing still hadn’t provided key documents on the opening or removal of the door plug, during the aircraft’s assembly.

Boeing Documents and Employees

Homendy also stated that the NTSB still hasn’t been able to interview any employees involved in the process that led to the opening of the door plug. This is, in part, because Boeing hasn’t provided a list of those who worked on the door plug.

Boeing provided these photos to the NTSB, but not the names of those involved. Photos: Boeing via NTSB

After these public comments, Boeing reportedly provided a list of 25 employees, but no documents concerning the door plug’s removal. According to The Air Current, before Boeing gave this list, the NTSB only knew the name of the door manager – who couldn’t be interviewed.

This is because this person was on medical leave, according to the manufacturer. Boeing later repeated that other documents that the NTSB is requesting simply don’t exist – although they SHOULD exist. Boeing said that its working hypothesis is that “the documents required by our processes were not created when the door plug was opened”.

Boeing: 737 MAX-9 Door Plug Documents Don’t Exist!
The door plug. Photo: NTSB

Other Investigations?

Regarding the list of employees, Boeing stated that before Homedy’s statement in the Senate hearing this week, Boeing didn’t know that the NTSB had requested such a list. Homendy later said that the agency has repeatedly and publicly stated (including to U.S. lawmakers) that it needs to interview people involved in the door plug removal.

This controversy around documents and names comes at a time when Boeing hopes to restore its public image. And while the purpose of the NTSB’s investigation isn’t to apportion blame, other investigations are different.

The U.S. Department of Justice has now opened a criminal investigation into the door plug blowout. The agency has contacted a number of passengers and crew, plus others at Alaska Airlines. Alaska stated that it is cooperating with the DoJ and that it does not believe that it is the target of the investigation.



  • DEI = Diversity, Equity & Inclusion = DISASTER

    • Because only straight white men are capable of doing this work?
      Because that’s what you just said.
      DEI in a corporate setting is about not discriminating against anyone in hiring for reasons other than ability to do the job, and making sure that people feel comfortable at work.

      Plus, all the published evidence shows that a diverse workforce produces better results for a company (do you really think a company so intent on making money that it skimps on quality assurance would do DEI if it didn’t positively affect their bottom line?)

  • Eduard Amorós i Wahl

    This is a major non conformity. In my opinion, it reflects a structural problem: quality assurance, much like safety assurance, relies on keeping records of everything that’s going on during the manufacturing process, and who does it, as well as what checks have been done (and by who).
    If this is a fundamental part of building (and also later maintaining) a train, I can only think that the same applies to the air industry. Note: I wrtienfrom Europe, but I reckon the same applies one the US.
    That said, I am led to think one step further:
    – Was Boeing beeing duly audited by the authorities, both in frequency and areas of inspection?
    – And what about internal audits?
    I wouldn’t be surprised if new procedures were put in place.

  • Igor Griffiths

    Keeping records of all aircraft maintenance is fundamental to aircraft safety and this is well understood by competent persons working in this industry.
    The reasons for this have been learned in blood and exist to prevent latent faults such as the door plug blowing out from occurring.
    Boeing’s evident lax attitude to this fundamental principle rightly should be part of a legal investigation

  • Sirhan Humbert

    Suspend Boeing’s business license for 3 months to allow a more thorough investigation, and to send a massive shockwave up their spines to rattle their brains. The two 100% fatal crashes caused by the MCAS fiasco should have done that but clearly didn’t. I was waiting to hear how many people went to jail over that, but still haven’t heard anything.

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