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Business News/ Companies / News/  Boeing 737 Max 9 aircraft window blowout incident on Alaska Airlines a new setback for company. Top 10 Updates
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Boeing 737 Max 9 aircraft window blowout incident on Alaska Airlines a new setback for company. Top 10 Updates

Boeing has encountered manufacturing challenges in recent years, including previous issues with drilling holes and inspections related to the rudder control system. This recent incident comes as Boeing is working to rebuild confidence in the 737 Max, a crucial source of cash.

Passenger oxygen masks hang from the roof next to a missing window and a portion of a side wall of an Alaska Airlines Flight 1282, which had been bound for Ontario, California, and suffered depressurization soon after departing (Instagram/@strawberrvy via REUTERS)Premium
Passenger oxygen masks hang from the roof next to a missing window and a portion of a side wall of an Alaska Airlines Flight 1282, which had been bound for Ontario, California, and suffered depressurization soon after departing (Instagram/@strawberrvy via REUTERS)

A Boeing Co. 737 Max jet operated by Alaska Airlines made an emergency landing at Portland International Airport after a window and a portion of the plane’s fuselage blew out shortly after take-off. Following the incident, Alaska Airlines grounded all of its Boeing 737-9 aircraft.

Flight 1282 was carrying 171 passengers and six flight crew members from Portland to Ontario, California, according to Alaska Airlines. Passengers recounted a rapid rush of air and minor injuries, luckily with no serious casualties.

FlightRadar24 said the plane was in the air for about 20 minutes and reached a maximum altitude of 16,300 feet. The aircraft was a brand-new Boeing 737 Max 9 delivered to Alaska Airlines in October.

Also Read: DGCA orders one-time inspection of emergency exits on all Boeing 737-8 Max aircraft

Technically, the 737 Max 9's modular fuselage layout allows variable emergency door installations based on seating configurations, providing operators with cabin layout flexibility. Alaska Airlines' approach involves permanently "plugging" some doors, unlike other configurations, as per a Bloomberg report.

Boeing has encountered manufacturing challenges in recent years, including previous issues with drilling holes and inspections related to the rudder control system. Boeing's 737 Max planes were grounded worldwide following two MAX 8 crashes in 2018 and 2019 that killed 346 people in total. This recent incident comes as Boeing is working to rebuild confidence in the 737 Max, a crucial source of cash.

Here are the Top 10 Updates:

1. The CEO of Alaska Airlines stated that as a precautionary step, the carrier will be grounding its entire fleet of 65 Boeing 737-9 aircraft. Each aircraft will be back in service after full maintenance and safety inspections, Minicucci said, adding that he expects this to be completed in a few days.

Also Read | Alaska Airlines midair window blowout: Here's all you need to know about the Boeing 737 Max 9 plane

2. Boeing said its technical team is ready to support the investigation, "We are aware of the incident involving Alaska Airlines Flight AS1282. We are working to gather more information and are in contact with our airline customer. A Boeing technical team stands ready to support the investigation".

3. Meanwhile, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has issued a temporary grounding and inspection order for certain Boeing Co. 737 Max 9 aircraft following the Alaska Airlines incident. The move will affect approximately 171 planes globally. FAA Administrator Mike Whitaker stated, "Safety will continue to drive our decision-making as we assist the NTSB’s investigation into Alaska Airlines Flight 1282."

4. Alaska Airlines, the second-largest operator of this aircraft type worldwide, had already grounded its Max 9 fleet after the event. United Airlines Holdings Inc., the top operator of this model, also withdrew some jets for inspections in response to the FAA's directive.

5. Both Alaska and United Airlines provided updates on their inspection progress. United has a fleet of 79 Boeing 737-9 Max aircraft and said 33 of these have already undergone the required FAA inspection. It added that 60 flights would be cancelled on Saturday. Alaska Airlines in an update said that inspection has been completed on more than a quarter of its 737-9 fleet, adding that 18 planes with the same features as the flight 1282 in question returned without issue.

6. In the wake of Alaska Airlines' incident, the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) has ordered all the Indian airlines to immediately carry out a one-time inspection of the emergency exits on all Boeing 737-8 Max aircraft currently operating as part of their fleet.

7. Among other carriers with a fleet of aircraft, FlyDubai, which has three Boeing Max 9 aircraft said its planes have a different cabin configuration than the Alaska model. Aeromexico said it was grounding all of its 737 MAX 9 planes while inspections are carried out; and Icelandair said none of its 737 MAX 9's featured the plane configuration specified in the FAA grounding order, AFP reported.

8. In terms of global response, China’s aviation regulator convened an emergency meeting to discuss potential actions, including a grounding of the Boeing Max fleet in the country. This event holds significance as China was the first to ground the 737 Max after fatal crashes in recent years.

9. Boeing expressed support for the FAA's decision, highlighting close collaboration with regulators and customers. The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) is investigating the incident. European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) is assessing whether further mandates are necessary.

10. The temporary grounding significantly affects flight operations, impacting tens of thousands of passengers with cancellations. According to the FAA, as many as 171 aircraft worldwide are likely to be affected, with each inspection taking four to eight hours.

(With inputs from Bloomberg, AFP)

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Published: 07 Jan 2024, 07:15 AM IST
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