Alaska Airlines begins preliminary inspections on up to 20 Boeing 737-9 MAX

(Reuters) – Alaska Airlines has begun preliminary inspections on some of its Boeing 737-9 MAX aircrafts this weekend, adding that up to 20 planes could undergo inspection, the company said on Saturday.

The carrier also said it would initiate and enhance its own layers of quality control to the production of the airplane and has initiated a review of Boeing’s production quality and control systems, including Boeing’s production vendor oversight.

Alaska Airlines said that it engaged in a candid conversation with Boeing’s CEO and leadership team earlier in the week to discuss their quality improvement plans to ensure the delivery of the highest quality aircraft off the production line for Alaska.

The airline said that the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) will require more data from Boeing before it approves the airline manufacturer’s proposed inspections and the maintenance instructions used to conduct the final inspections to safely return the 737-9 MAX to service.

The FAA on Friday extended the grounding of Boeing 737 MAX 9 airplanes indefinitely for new safety checks and announced it will tighten oversight of Boeing itself after a cabin panel broke off a new jet in mid-flight.

Under more stringent supervision, the regulator will audit the Boeing 737 MAX 9 production line and suppliers and consider having an independent entity take over from Boeing certain aspects of certifying the safety of new aircraft that the FAA previously assigned to the planemaker.

(Reporting by Chandni Shah in Bengaluru; Editing by Michael Perry and Christian Schmollinger)