FAA grounds 171 Boeing planes after mid-air blowout on Alaska Airlines flight


Singapore SA2024The US Federal Aviation Administration announced it has ordered the grounding of some Boeing 737 Max 9 jets after part of one plane fell off during an Alaska Airlines flight. The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) said the inspections would affect 171 planes.

On Friday the Alaska Airlines flight had to make an emergency landing after take-off from the US state of Oregon. United Airlines says it has carried out the inspections required by the FAA on some of its 79 Boeing 737 Max 9 planes. Removing some of the aircraft from service is expected to cause about 60 cancellations on Saturday, the airline said in a statement.

Earlier, the FAA said it would “order the temporary grounding of certain Boeing 737 Max 9 aircraft operated by US airlines or in US territory”. Required inspections will take around four to eight hours per aircraft, it said.

In Friday’s incident, the Alaska Airlines flight from Portland, Oregon to Ontario, California, had reached 16,000ft (4,876m) when it began its emergency descent, according to flight tracking data. The airline, carrying 177 passengers and crew, landed safely back in Portland. Images sent to news outlets showed the night sky visible through the gap in the fuselage, with insulation material and other debris also seen. There were no immediate indications of the cause of the apparent structural failure, nor any reports of injuries.

Boeing issued a statement after the incident, saying “Safety is our top priority and we deeply regret the impact this event has had on our customers and their passengers. 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.”


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