Mar 22, 2024 - Politics & Policy

FBI: Alaska Airlines passengers may be victims of a crime after Boeing blowout

An Alaska Airlines Boeing 737 MAX 9 aircraft flies by residential and commercial buildings approaches San Diego International Airport

An Alaska Airlines Boeing 737 MAX 9 aircraft approaches San Diego International Airport on March 12. Photo: Kevin Carter/Getty Images

Passengers aboard the Alaska Airlines flight that experienced a mid-air door plug blowout may have been victims of a crime, according to the FBI.

Why it matters: The Justice Department investigation adds to the legal peril Boeing is facing. The company also is the subject of ongoing probes by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB).

Driving the news: "This case is currently under investigation by the FBI," according to a letter sent by the FBI field office in Seattle to passengers who were on the flight when the blowout occurred in January.

  • Mark Lindquist, an attorney representing 27 passengers from Alaska Airlines flight 1282, shared a copy of the letter with Axios.
  • It states that the recipient may be a "possible victim of a crime."
  • Lindquist told Axios that his clients began receiving the letters on Tuesday.

What they're saying: "Quite frankly, the Department of Justice brings a hammer that the NTSB and the FAA do not have," he said. "Criminal charges are a major hammer."

  • "We want answers. We want accountability. We want safer Boeing planes," Lindquist said.

The FBI's Seattle field office would neither confirm nor deny the investigation in response to a request from Axios.

The big picture: Boeing, one of the world's largest aerospace manufacturers, has seen its bottomline and reputation damaged as a result of the door plug blowout.

Go deeper: Boeing timeline: Tracking the fallout of the door plug blowout

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