Boeing 737 Max planes grounded after Alaska Airlines flight suffers blowout
Boeing is facing new scrutiny over the safety of its 737 Max planes after an Alaska Airlines flight was left with a gaping hole in its side. The Federal Aviation Administration has ordered immediate inspections of some Max 9 planes following the incident. This is the latest setback for Boeing, which has already faced significant challenges after two deadly crashes involving the Max planes. Alaska Airlines grounded its entire fleet of 65 Max 9s for inspections, causing the cancellation of over 100 flights. The FAA and National Transportation Safety Board will investigate the incident.
Alaska Airlines flight suffers blowout on Boeing 737 Max 9
An Alaska Airlines flight experienced a fuselage panel blowout on a Boeing 737 Max 9 shortly after takeoff from Portland, Oregon. The incident resulted in the loss of cabin pressure and an emergency landing. Miraculously, none of the passengers or crew were injured.
Following the incident, the Federal Aviation Administration announced immediate inspections of Max 9 planes being operated by US airlines or flown in the US by foreign carriers. This emergency order will affect approximately 171 planes worldwide.
Alaska Airlines announced that it would ground its entire fleet of 65 Max 9 planes for inspections and maintenance. CEO Ben Minicucci stated that the inspections are expected to be completed in the next few days.
Impact on airlines and passengers
The grounding of the Max 9 planes has disrupted the operations of Alaska Airlines, as they account for more than one-fourth of the airline's fleet. Over 100 flights were canceled. United Airlines also inspected its Max 9 planes, resulting in approximately 60 canceled flights.
Photos of the Alaska Airlines jet showed a hole in the aircraft where an emergency exit is installed when the planes carry the maximum number of passengers. The 737 Max 9 jets of Alaska Airlines do not require the additional emergency exit, so those doors are plugged.
Passengers and industry analysts are concerned about the safety of the Max planes and the potential impact on Boeing's brand. The investigation into the blowout incident will determine the extent of the damage to Boeing's reputation and whether it needs to make changes to its manufacturing processes.
Background on the Boeing 737 Max
The Boeing 737 Max is the newest version of the popular 737 model, known for its use on domestic flights in the US. However, the Max planes have faced significant issues since their debut. They were involved in two deadly crashes in 2018 and 2019, resulting in a worldwide grounding of the planes for nearly two years.
Boeing has been under scrutiny for its handling of the Max planes, with accusations of cutting corners and prioritizing profits over safety. The fallout from the crashes has cost Boeing over $20 billion and resulted in confidential settlements with the families of the crash victims.
In addition to the blowout incident, the Max planes have faced other problems, including delivery delays due to component issues and concerns about an anti-ice system and loose bolts in the rudder-control system. The safety and reliability of the Max planes continue to be a concern for airlines and passengers.