The Federal Aviation Administration is launching a formal investigation into the Boeing 737 MAX 9 after a cabin panel blew off an Alaska Airlines flight while in mid-air last week, forcing an emergency landing, the regulator said Thursday.
The FAA grounded 171 Boeing jets installed with the same panel after the landing, most of which are operated by U.S. carriers Alaska Airlines and United Airlines, pending safety inspections.
The FAA said the Alaska Airlines MAX 9 incident "should have never happened and it cannot happen again." It told Boeing of the investigation in a letter on Wednesday "to determine if Boeing failed to ensure completed products conformed to its approved design and were in a condition for safe operation in compliance with FAA regulations" and after learning of "additional discrepancies."
“We will cooperate fully and transparently with the FAA and the NTSB on their investigations," Boeing said in a statement.