Justice Department probing Boeing midair door plug blowout

ByLuke Barr ABCNews logo
Thursday, February 29, 2024

The Justice Department is investigating the Jan. 5 Boeing door plug blowout on an Alaska Airlines flight, three sources familiar with the situation told ABC News.

The door plug fell off of a Boeing 737 Max 9 a few minutes after Alaska Airlines flight 1282 took off from Portland International Airport on Jan. 5, before returning to the airport for an emergency landing.

In addition to the Alaska Airlines incident, the probe will examine specifically whether Boeing violated its 2021 deferred prosecution agreement when the company was investigated by the Justice Department over two 737 Max crashes. The deferred prosecution agreement forced Boeing to cooperate with federal government probes and fined the company $2.5 billion after Lion Air Flight 610 and Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302, both 737 Max planes, crashed.

"At the request of the Fraud Section, the Company and its subsidiaries and affiliates shall also cooperate fully with other domestic or foreign law enforcement and regulatory authorities and agencies in any investigation of the Company, its subsidiaries, affiliates, or any of their present or former officers, directors, employees, and agents in any and all matters relating to the conduct described in this Agreement and the attached Statement of Facts and other conduct," the agreement filed in 2021 says.

Boeing and the Justice Department declined to comment.

Shortly after the January Alaska Airlines incident, the Federal Aviation Administration grounded approximately 171 Max 9s worldwide. Alaska Airlines resumed flying the Boeing 737 Max 9 following fleet inspections on Jan. 26.

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