Boeing and Alaska Airlines Are Blaming Each Other for the Door Plug Blowing off the Plane Mid-flight

Boeing and Alaska Airlines have both refuted any legal culpability for the injuries allegedly sustained by numerous passengers following a door plug dislodging incident on a 737-Max 9 jet during a flight in January.

In their formal responses this week to a class-action lawsuit filed by numerous passengers of Alaska Airlines Flight 1282, Boeing acknowledged the initial findings of a National Transportation Safety Board investigation, which concluded that the door plug was improperly installed.

Boeing’s CEO, Dave Calhoun, publicly acknowledged the incident as “our mistake” in an interview with CNBC. However, Boeing denied liability for any damages claimed by the passengers, asserting that their lawsuit should be dismissed.

The company further argued that it cannot be held responsible for injuries resulting from improper maintenance or misuse by entities other than Boeing.

Similarly, Alaska Airlines disclaimed liability, contending that any injuries resulting from the door plug dislodging were due to the actions of entities beyond its control, including Boeing and non-party Spirit AeroSystems.

Additionally, Alaska Airlines denied that the activation of the plane’s cabin-pressure warning light three times within the previous month, including on the day before the incident, was indicative of the aircraft being unsafe to fly.

These legal responses, filed as part of the case in the U.S. District Court in Seattle, mark the companies’ initial formal rebuttals to the multiple lawsuits initiated following the January 5 incident.

Daniel Laurence, an attorney representing passengers involved in the class action, expressed surprise at Boeing and Alaska Airlines’ refusal to admit liability and resolve the case swiftly.

He remarked on their defensive stance, suggesting that the evidence strongly supports the assertion that the aircraft was dispatched with an insecure door plug, posing a severe risk to passengers’ safety.

The incident occurred shortly after the Boeing-manufactured jet, carrying 171 passengers and six flight crew members, departed from Portland International Airport en route to Ontario International Airport in San Bernardino County, California.

Upon reaching an altitude of approximately 16,000 feet, the door plug dislodged, creating a sizable hole in the fuselage and necessitating the plane’s return to Portland, where it landed safely.

After the incident, which has spotlighted Boeing’s troubled 737 Max airplanes, the Federal Aviation Administration temporarily grounded certain models of the plane. The NTSB investigation revealed a lack of installed bolts to secure the plug.

Concurrently, the FAA initiated an audit into Boeing and its supplier, Spirit AeroSystems, uncovering instances where the companies allegedly failed to adhere to manufacturing quality control standards.

Additionally, the Department of Justice commenced a separate criminal investigation into the door plug dislodging incident, as reported by a source familiar with the probe.

Josh Alba
Josh Alba
Josh Alba stands at the forefront of contemporary business journalism, his words weaving narratives that illuminate the intricate workings of the corporate world. With a keen eye for detail and a penchant for uncovering the underlying stories behind financial trends, Josh has established himself as a trusted authority in business writing. Drawing from his wealth of experience and relentless pursuit of truth, Josh delivers insights that resonate with readers across industries.
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