Alaska Airlines, FAA Oversight

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The NTSB synopsis of a public meeting Tuesday concluded that a lack of grease on the jackscrew in an Alaska Airlines MD-80 ultimately caused the crash that killed 88 on Jan. 31, 2000, but also that "The airplane was dispatched in accordance with Federal Aviation Administration regulations and approved Alaska Airlines procedures." The draft report already pointed to widespread problems with maintenance procedures and the FAA's oversight of same. This early criticism of the agency's policies caused the FAA to revamp its oversight procedures -- especially with Alaska Airlines -- immediately following the crash. Alaska Airlines says that its maintenance difficulties were largely paperwork problems and that it properly maintained the jet. NTSB board members are still debating what or who to blame for the specific issue of a improperly lubricated jackscrew that led to the crash and any new safety recommendations to issued.