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FAA Mandates Grounding of Specific Boeing 737 Max 9 Aircraft Post Alaska Airlines Incident

AutoFAA Mandates Grounding of Specific Boeing 737 Max 9 Aircraft Post Alaska Airlines Incident

The Federal Aviation Administration ,FAA Mandates Grounding issued orders to ground and swiftly inspect around 171 Boeing 737 Max 9 aircraft globally after an emergency occurred on Friday with one operated by Alaska Airlines. The FAA’s administrator, Mike Whitaker, stated that immediate reviews of specific Boeing 737 MAX 9 jets are mandatory before their return to service.

What Happened?

This directive came following an unexpected landing of an Alaska Airlines flight in Portland, Oregon, on Friday night due to a door plug ejecting midair, creating an opening in the plane next to two empty seats. Both Southwest Airlines and American Airlines, although not operating Boeing 737 Max 9 aircraft, assured that they have no concerns about the Max 8 model they fly.

India‘s aviation regulator ordered safety inspections of all Boeing 737 Max planes flown by Indian airlines, even though none use the specific model involved in Friday’s incident. This incident occurs within four years of the Boeing Max aircraft’s approval for passenger transport in the US. All Boeing Max planes underwent global grounding in 2019 following two fatal accidents involving Max 8 jets.

In December, Boeing advised airlines to inspect their 737 Max jets for loosely fastened bolts after finding at least two planes with improperly tightened nuts. Boeing spokesperson Jessica Kowal stated the company’s support for the FAA’s inspection request and their engagement with the NTSB’s investigation.

Alaska Airlines Flight 1282, departing from Portland, experienced the event, prompting an immediate return due to a large opening on the left side of the aircraft.
The plane deployed oxygen masks and returned to Portland International Airport. There were 171 passengers and 6 crew members on board, with no reported fatalities or serious injuries.

Actions

Alaska Airlines CEO Ben Minicucci mentioned collaborating with Boeing and regulators to understand the incident and grounded their fleet of Boeing 737 Max 9 planes for inspections. They announced inspecting a quarter of the planes, finding no significant issues, and expressed confidence in their fleet. They will conclude inspections for all 65 Boeing 737 Max 9s within a few days.

The Boeing 737 Max faced prior safety concerns due to fatal crashes in Indonesia and Ethiopia, resulting in its global grounding in 2019. Investigations revealed that a flight control system, MCAS, contributed to the accidents due to reliance on a faulty sensor. The Department of Transportation’s inspector general’s report highlighted Boeing’s failure to disclose critical flight control system modifications, aiming to expedite the plane’s certification process.

In 2021, Boeing agreed to a settlement, paying over $2.5 billion, including penalties and compensations for the victims’ families and affected airlines.

FAQs:

1. What caused the recent grounding of Boeing 737 Max 9 aircraft?

The grounding was prompted by an emergency involving an Alaska Airlines flight where a door plug ejected midair, creating an opening next to two empty seats.

2. What was the FAA’s response to this incident?

The FAA mandated immediate inspections of approximately 171 Boeing 737 Max 9 jets globally before they could return to service.

3. Which airlines are affected by this directive?

Primarily, airlines operating Boeing 737 Max 9 aircraft globally are affected by the FAA’s inspection mandate.

4. How did other airlines, like Southwest and American Airlines, respond to this incident?

Southwest and American Airlines, operating different models (Max 8), expressed no concerns about their fleet’s safety in light of this incident.

5. What action did India’s aviation regulator take in response to this incident?

India’s aviation regulator ordered safety inspections of all Boeing 737 Max planes flown by Indian airlines, even though none operate the specific Max 9 model involved in the incident.

6. How did Boeing respond to the FAA’s inspection request?

Boeing supported the FAA’s inspection request and engaged with the NTSB’s investigation, following their own prior advisory to airlines regarding loosely fastened bolts on 737 Max jets.

Sources:

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