Minicucci, speaking to US broadcaster NBC, said that in-house inspections of its aircraft following the forced emergency landing of Flight 1282 on 5 January had led to the discovery of similarly loose bolts across other 737 MAX 9s in use by the airline.
Following the inspections, Minicucci said that he “knew that this was an issue out of [Boeing’s] factory”, and that it was “clear to me that we received an airplane from Boeing with a faulty door”.
He continued: “Now the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) investigation is going to figure out why that was a faulty door – whether that was a bad installation, missing hardware, a manufacturing issue – but there’s no doubt that [we] received an airplane off the production line with a faulty door.”
The incident earlier this month led to the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) grounding all Boeing 737 MAX 9s in operation within US airspace.
A safety inspection is also currently ongoing, and there is currently no confirmed date at which the Boeing-made aircraft can return to service – something that has caused significant flight disruption in recent weeks.
In response to the growing frustrations of airlines, and the concerns of passengers, Boeing Commercial Airplanes’ President and CEO Stan Deal stated: “We have let down our airline customers and are deeply sorry for the significant disruption to them, their employees and their passengers.
“We are taking action on a comprehensive plan to bring these airplanes safely back to service and to improve our quality and delivery performance. We will follow the lead of the FAA and support our customers every step of the way,” he added.