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FAA administrator to testify at aviation safety hearing

(NewsNation) — The Federal Aviation Administration administrator will testify before lawmakers Tuesday at n a House Transportation Committee hearing focused on safety in the skies.

Lawmakers will ask Michael Whitaker about his agency’s investigation into Boeing’s 737 Max 9 planes, especially after new reports from Monday in which the company announced a potential issue with some of its planes’ fuselages.

In a public letter to its team, Boeing said an employee of a supplier reported finding improperly drilled holes in window frames, impacting around 50 planes that had not yet been delivered or in service.

Boeing added that the problem was not reported on any current planes in operation.

The committee also plans to focus on the fallout from an Alaska Airlines incident last month when a door plug blew off a plane during the fight, leaving a gaping hole on the side of the aircraft.

Lawmakers plan to ask questions about possible quality control issues with Boeing production lines from before that incident. Also, they will ask if the FAA has found any lapses since it started its own investigation into the company.

“They have had repeated problems with quality and safety. And I want to know why. And I want to know what we’re doing about it in the FAA to make sure that we’re going to keep that quality as much as we can,” Rep. Jeff Van Drew, R- N.J., said.

The official National Transportation Safety Board investigation into the Alaska Airlines incident remains ongoing and a preliminary report could be released later this week.

Since that incident, the FAA says over 90% of its Max 9 planes have been inspected and cleared for service.