Texas AG launches probe into Boeing supplier operations, DEI commitments

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Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton on Thursday announced an investigation into Boeing parts supplier Spirit AeroSystems regarding its operations, as well as the company’s diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) initiatives.

Spirit AeroSystems is one of the largest manufacturers of aircraft parts in the world and makes the fuselages for the Boeing 737 and 787, as well as the Airbus A350 and the wings for the A220. The company’s work with Boeing has faced scrutiny in the wake of the midair blowout of a 737 Max 9’s door plug panel.

Paxton notified Spirit AeroSystems of the investigation in a letter requesting that the company produce documents related to manufacturing defects in its products. He is also calling for the company to produce documents related to its DEI commitments and whether those commitments are compromising its manufacturing processes.

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“The potential risks associated with certain airplane models are deeply concerning and potentially life-threatening to Texans,” Paxton said in a press release. “I will hold any company responsible if they fail to maintain the standards required by law and will do everything in my power to ensure manufacturers take passenger safety seriously.”

BOEING NEEDS TO FOCUS ON SAFETY AND QUALITY AFTER INCIDENTS, FAA CHIEF SAYS

Spirit AeroSystems did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The company faces a deadline of April 17 to provide the requested documents to the consumer protection division of the attorney general’s office.

Boeing and Spirit AeroSystems have been under increased scrutiny following the door plug panel blowout incident on Jan. 5. 

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A preliminary report by the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) indicated that four key missing bolts on the door plug frame contributed to the incident, which caused the cabin to depressurize and the Alaska Airlines flight to return to Oregon’s Portland International Airport for an emergency landing.

NTSB REPORT: MISSING BOLTS FROM DOOR PLUG PLAYED FACTOR IN MID-AIR BLOWOUT OF ALASKA AIRLINES FLIGHT

The incident caused the grounding of all 737 Max 9 aircraft for inspections. The aircraft returned to service in late January following inspections by airlines, the Federal Aviation Administration and the manufacturers.

Other incidents have added to the aerospace companies’ woes, such as Boeing’s identification of misdrilled holes on 50 undelivered fuselages of 737 Max jets.

BOEING BATTERED AS INCIDENTS PILE UP

Boeing CEO Dave Calhoun, who announced this week that he will step down from his role at the end of this year, visited Spirit AeroSystems about two weeks after the Jan. 5 incident.

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Boeing is in discussions with Spirit AeroSystems about potentially acquiring the supplier, which was formerly a Boeing subsidiary before it was spun off. 

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A month ago, Spirit confirmed that it is in talks with Boeing about its potential acquisition, although it noted that there is uncertainty surrounding whether an agreement will be reached and consummated.

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