NTSB sanctions Boeing for ‘blatantly’ violating agreement by sharing non-public investigation details

Signage outside a Boeing office building in Arlington, Virginia, U.S., on Thursday, May 5, 2022. (Eric Lee/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

(NEW YORK) — Boeing will be subject to sanctions for disclosing non-public information about an investigation into how a door plug blew out of one of its 737 Max 9 planes, the National Transportation Safety Board said on Thursday.

Officials accused the airplane manufacturer of “blatantly” violating a signed agreement with the NTSB, under which the company has party status to investigation information that hasn’t otherwise been made public.

“During a media briefing Tuesday about quality improvements at Boeing Commercial Airplanes, a Boeing executive provided investigative information and gave an analysis of factual information previously released,” the NTSB said in a press release.

The released added, “Both of these actions are prohibited by the party agreement that Boeing signed when it was offered party status by the NTSB at the start of the investigation.”

NTSB officials opened an investigation in January after a door plug fell off an Alaska Airlines plane, a Boeing 737 Max 9, shortly after the aircraft took off from Portland International Airport.

The company will retain its party status, but will no longer have access to investigation details, NTSB said.

During a media event on Tuesday, company executives said the NTSB investigation amounted to a search for the person who was responsible for the faulty door plug, according to the NTSB.

“The NTSB is instead focused on the probable cause of the accident, not placing blame on any individual or assessing liability,” officials said in the press release.

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