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United finds loose bolts on plug doors during 737 Max 9 inspections

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Following a scary event on an Alaska Airlines Boeing which resulted in a rapid depressurization inside the plane, United Airlines inspected its fleet of the same jets. United Airlines found “loose bolts and other parts on 737 Max 9 plug doors” reports The Air Current.

United confirmed the findings in a statement, saying, “Since we began preliminary inspections on Saturday, we have found instances that appear to relate to installation issues in the door plug – for example, bolts that needed additional tightening. These findings will be remedied by our Tech Ops team to safely return the aircraft to service.”

The discrepant bolts and other parts on the plug doors have been found on at least five aircraft, one of the people told The Air Current.

Later Monday, Alaska Airlines confirmed it, too, had found issues with the plug doors on its grounded jets. “As our maintenance technicians began preparing our 737-9 Max fleet for inspections, they accessed the area in question. Initial reports from our technicians indicate some loose hardware was visible on some aircraft,” the company wrote.

According to documents reviewed by The Air Current, there was little consistency in the locations of the problematic parts in the five United aircraft. In one instance, United found that the bolts that affix the lower hinge of the plug door were not fully seated, and that the washers on the bolts could “spin”. 

Another aircraft was found to have loose bolts on the upper forward guide fitting on the plug and another on the forward guide roller that is an attachment point to the fuselage on the door frame. Additionally, screws that are part of the lower hinge bracket at the bottom of the plug on another aircraft were found to not be fully screwed in.

The Air Current reports that the findings aboard the five United aircraft will likely significantly widen the fall-out from the grounding, intensifying the focus on Boeing and Spirit AeroSystems. The pair together is responsible for the assembly, installation and quality checks of the aircraft structure.

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Canadian-U.S. border illegal crossings up 240% over previous year

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The vulnerability of the northern border of the United States is being weaponized in the war on illegal migration. 2023 saw a 240% increase of individuals apprehended from just one year prior. Not only is the border with Canada significantly longer than its border with Mexico, but its ports of entry are often understaffed while the Customs and Border Protection (CBP) is forced to prioritize the southern surge.

According to recent data from U.S. Customs and Border Protection, in 2023 authorities halted over 12,000 migrants attempting illegal crossings at the Canadian border. The number is a 240% increase from the preceding year when 3,579 individuals were apprehended.

ADN America reports that approximately 70% of the illegal crossings took place along a 295-mile stretch along the northern New York, Vermont, and New Hampshire border called the Swanton Sector.

Chief patrol agent for the sector, Robert Garcia, posted on social media that the 3,100 individuals apprehended were from 55 different countries. 

Garcia wrote “the record-breaking surge of illegal entries from Canada continues in Swanton Sector” and he specifically mentioned that the arrest of 10 Bangladeshi citizens was prompted by a citizen’s report in Champlain, New York.

Surprisingly, ADN reports:

A significant number of those engaging in illegal crossings are Mexicans who exploit the opportunity to fly to Canada without a visa, also avoiding the presence of cartels in their home countries.

Experts suggest that migrants can purchase a $350 one-way plane ticket from Mexico City or Cancun to Montreal or Toronto. This route is perceived as offering a lower likelihood of being turned away compared to those crossing the southern border.

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