Boeing’s 737 factory logs reveal delays, production pressure before door plug blowout: report

Boeing 737 MAX 9 door plug blew off Alaska Airlines flight on Jan. 5

Boeing’s factory logs show that crews apparently did not follow procedures as they faced mounting pressure over delays in finishing a jet that would later have its door plug blown off midflight, according to a report.

The production breakdown, as first reported by the Wall Street Journal, was highlighted in the company’s Shipside Action Tracker (SAT) entries, which are internal channels used to communicate fixes for production problems.

Damaged rivets around the frame of the door plug in the jet’s fuselage were flagged for repair on Sept. 1 at Boeing’s factory in Renton, Washington, but target dates for completion were continually missed, according to the newspaper, which reviewed the logs. 

Workers extended the estimated completion time 50 times and escalated the situation to a "Tier 3" priority, according to the logs. The pressure to finish the jet was highlighted with dollar signs in an internal message reviewed by the newspaper that read: "$$TIER-CHG: 2 – 3 $$."

BOEING CEO DAVE CALHOUN TO STEP DOWN AT YEAR'S END

Alaska Airlines blowout

A door panel on a Boeing 737-9 MAX blew off mid-flight after Alaska Airlines Flight 1282 took off from Portland International Airport on Jan. 5. (NTSB  / Fox News)

The logs show that the repairs were finally finished and signed off on the morning of Sept. 20 after a quality check was requested the previous day.

The door plug would blow off the jet during an Alaska Airlines flight 16,000 feet over Oregon on Jan. 5. Federal investigators later found that the door plug appeared to be missing four key bolts after repair work at the Boeing plant.

While pilots landed the Boeing 737 Max 9 safely, the rapid depressurization in the cabin put passengers in danger of being sucked out of the plane.

BOEING SECURITY FOOTAGE OF WORK ON JET WITH FAILED DOOR PLUG IS UNAVAILABLE, NTSB SAYS

Since the blowout, Boeing has faced increased scrutiny over safety.

NTSB official analyzes Alaska Airlines blowout

Investigator-in-Charge John Lovell examines the fuselage plug area of Alaska Airlines Flight 1282 Boeing 737-9 MAX. (NTSB / Fox News)

A six-week Federal Aviation Administration review of Boeing’s manufacturing processes for the 737 Max found the company failed 33 of 89 aspects.

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In a note to employees last month, Boeing CEO Dave Calhoun called the incident "a watershed moment" for the company and that it requires a "total commitment to safety and quality at every level of our company."

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Days after the note, Boeing announced that Calhoun was stepping down at the end of 2024.