FAA Chief Michael Whitaker to Visit Boeing's 737 MAX Production Facility
Michael Whitaker, head of the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), is set to visit Boeing's main hub in Seattle next week. This follows an audit focused on the production process of Boeing's 737 MAX plane. This move was prompted by a mid-air emergency involving the aircraft.
Recent Malfunctions in Boeing's 737 MAX Jets Triggers FAA Audit
Based in the Seattle area, Boeing, the manufacturer of the 737 MAX series, experienced another setback recently. On January 5, a panel detached itself from one of its 737 MAX 9 jets while in flight. According to insiders, Whitaker has plans to visit Boeing's Renton factory, where the 737 jets are assembled. This factory is situated roughly nine miles away from Seattle.
FAA Bars Boeing from Expanding 737 MAX Production
In December, Whitaker made an exceptional move to prevent Boeing from ramping up production of their 737 MAX planes. This decision followed an incident where a cabin panel blew out in-flight on a brand-new Alaska Airlines MAX 9. The FAA insisted that Boeing needed to address quality control issues before considering an increase in manufacturing.
In an official statement, the FAA said, "In continuation of the FAA's commitment to enhancing safety, Administrator Mike Whitaker will travel to the Seattle area at the start of next week. His itinerary includes meeting FAA employees, touring FAA facilities, and visiting Boeing."
Boeing declined to give a statement on this matter.
FAA's Audit Process in Full Swing
The FAA has about 20 inspectors stationed at Boeing’s 737 factory in Renton, Washington and six more at Spirit AeroSystems in Wichita, Kansas. Whitaker this week confirmed that their six-week audit process is now mid-way through.