Efforts to get Boeing’s 737 Max 9 cleared to fly again suffered a delay, after the Federal Aviation Administration said that instructions the company sent to airlines for inspecting the planes on Monday were insufficient.
“Boeing offered an initial version of instructions yesterday, which they are now revising because of feedback received in response,” the F.A.A. said in a statement. “Upon receiving the revised version of instructions from Boeing, the F.A.A. will conduct a thorough review. The safety of the flying public, not speed, will determine the timeline for returning the Boeing 737-9 Max to service.”
The F.A.A. had said on Saturday that it would require inspections of the planes after a panel in one was blown out during an Alaska Airlines flight on Friday. Although no serious injuries were reported, the incident exposed passengers to powerful wind and raised fresh concerns about the safety practices at Boeing. The company has struggled to regain the public’s trust after two crashes involving the Boeing 737 Max 8 in 2018 and 2019 killed 346 people.
Alaska Airlines and United Airlines, the two biggest operators of the Max 9, said on Monday that they had found loose parts during preliminary inspections of the panel, also referred to as a door plug. The part is installed where an emergency exit would be if the plane had the maximum number of seats possible.
Investigators for the National Transportation Safety Board recovered the door plug, but said on Monday that they were still searching for some related parts.
Boeing’s chief executive, Dave Calhoun, is expected to address employees at a town-hall meeting on Tuesday afternoon in the Seattle area where the company makes several of its planes, including the Max. Mr. Calhoun took charge of the company in January 2020 after his predecessor was forced out during the earlier Max crisis.
This is a developing story. Please check back for updates.