Wednesday, July 24, 2024
FAA grounds 171 Boeing 737 Max 9s

FAA grounds 171 Boeing 737 Max 9s

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has grounded 171 Boeing 737 Max 9 aircraft after the outer section of an Alaska Airlines plane blew out mid-flight.

The aircraft have been grounded to allow for inspections following the incident, with the checks expected to take between four to eight hours per plane, according to the FAA.

“The FAA is requiring immediate inspections of certain Boeing 737 MAX 9 planes before they can return to flight,” FAA Administrator Mike Whitaker said in a statement. “Safety will continue to drive our decision-making as we assist the NTSB’s investigation into Alaska Airlines Flight 1282.”

“Safety will always be the top priority for our Department and for FAA. Administrator Whitaker has acted to order these aircraft grounded pending the inspections necessary to ensure that they are safe to operate,” US Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg added.

The flight was travelling from Portland, Oregon to Ontario, California when the incident occurred, forcing it to turn back shortly after takeoff.

Footage on social media showed a hole on the side of the aeroplane, which passengers using oxygen masks. No serious injuries were reported after the plane landed, with all 171 passengers and six crew members accounted for.

The FAA directive comes after Alaska Airlines announced it was temporarily grounding its fleet of Boeing 737 Max 9s.

“Each aircraft will be returned to service only after completion of full maintenance and safety inspections,” Alaska Airlines CEO Ben Minicucci stated after the incident. “We anticipate all inspections will be completed in the next few days.”

“Safety is our top priority and we deeply regret the impact this event has had on our customers and their passengers,” a Boeing spokesperson said. “We agree with and fully support the FAA’s decision to require immediate inspections of 737-9 airplanes with the same configuration as the affected airplane. In addition, a Boeing technical team is supporting the NTSB’s investigation into last night’s event. We will remain in close contact with our regulator and customers.”

Picture of James Graham

James Graham

James Graham is an award-winning transport media journalist with a long background in the commercial freight sector, including commercial aviation and the aviation supply chain. He was the initial Air Cargo Week journalist and retuned later for a stint as editor. He continues his association as editor of the monthly supplements. He has reported for the newspaper from global locations as well as the UK.

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