The Federal Aviation Administration said on Friday that it was increasing oversight of Boeing and would conduct an audit of the 737 Max 9 production line a week after a panel in the body of one of the planes was blown out during flight.
The audit of Max 9 production will assess whether Boeing and its suppliers adhered to approved practices. The agency also said that it would more closely scrutinize problems on the Max 9 and investigate safety risks associated with the agency delegating some oversight to authorized Boeing employees, a practice that drew criticism after two crashes of 737 Max 8 jetliners that killed a total of 346 people.
“It is time to re-examine the delegation of authority and assess any associated safety risks,” the agency’s administrator, Mike Whitaker, said in a statement. “The grounding of the 737-9 and the multiple production-related issues identified in recent years require us to look at every option to reduce risk.
He added that the agency was exploring the use of an independent third party to oversee Boeing’s inspections and its quality system.
On Thursday, the agency announced an investigation into whether Boeing failed to ensure that the plane was up to standards and safe to operate.
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