Justice: Investigations after near-miss with Boeing 737 Max

After the near-miss with a Boeing 737-8 Max at the beginning of January, the US Department of Justice also began an investigation.

Justice: Investigations after near-miss with Boeing 737 Max

After the near-miss with a Boeing 737-8 Max at the beginning of January, the US Department of Justice also began an investigation. The affected airline, Alaska Airlines, said on Saturday that it was cooperating with the investigation and did not believe it was being targeted.

In such a situation, it is normal for the Ministry of Justice to get involved. The Wall Street Journal previously reported that investigators had contacted passengers and questioned pilots and flight attendants.

170 people escaped with a shock

In the incident with a virtually new Boeing 737-8 Max from Alaska, a fuselage fragment broke off at row 26 shortly after take-off. The more than 170 people on board were largely shocked. However, experts pointed out that by a lucky coincidence the two seats at the hole in the fuselage remained empty.

According to initial investigations, the accident investigation authority NTSB assumes that four fastening bolts on the fuselage part were completely missing. There are indications that the fragment continued to slide up until it broke out on the 154th flight, said NTSB chief Jennifer Homendy in a hearing in the US Senate a few days ago.

First consequences for Boeing

The incident has already had consequences for Boeing. The aviation authority FAA is not allowing the aircraft manufacturer to expand Max production until further notice, which Boeing urgently needs to reduce the delay in deliveries. The FAA is also taking a close look at manufacturing. The Justice Department's investigation could lead to significant further problems.

The investigation is also likely to be about whether Boeing is adhering to the terms of a settlement that settled the investigation after two crashes of 737 Max aircraft in 2018 and 2019. 346 people died in the accidents involving Indonesian Lion Air and Ethiopian Airlines planes. The problem lay in assistance software. As part of the settlement, Boeing admitted that former employees had not properly informed the FAA about the extent of pilot training required to operate the software.

Billion dollar settlement tied to conditions

The $2.5 billion settlement at the time stipulated, among other things, that Boeing would not have any legal problems and would cooperate with all government investigations. If the Justice Department comes to the conclusion that Boeing violated its commitments, the allegations of false statements at the time could come back into play - or supervision of the company could be extended.

The NTSB, which is continuing to investigate the Alaska incident, also fears that the Justice Department's investigation could make Boeing employees less open in communicating with agency experts.

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