Alaska Airlines Grounds 737 Max 9 Fleet as Window Blows Out Mid-Flight

Alaska Airlines Grounds 737 Max 9 Fleet

Alaska Airlines Grounds 737 Max 9 Fleet

Alaska Airlines has grounded all of its Boeing 737-9 aircraft as of late Friday. The move came hours after a window and piece of fuselage on one of the planes blew out in midair and forced an emergency landing in Portland, Oregon.

No one was seriously hurt in the incident, which raises more questions about Boeing’s 737 MAX fleet. The MAX-9 is a different design than the MAX-8, which was grounded globally for almost two years after two crashes overseas that killed 346 people.

The incident occurred shortly after takeoff and the gaping hole caused the cabin to depressurize. Flight data showed the plane climbed to 16,000 feet before returning to Portland International Airport. The plane was diverted about about six minutes after taking off at 5:07 p.m., according to flight tracking data from the FlightAware website. It landed at 5:26 p.m. The airline said the plane landed safely with 174 passengers and six crew members.

“Following tonight’s event on Flight 1282, we have decided to take the precautionary step of temporarily grounding our fleet of 65 Boeing 737-9 aircraft.” Alaska Airlines CEO Ben Minicucci said in a statement. “My heart goes out to those who were on this flight – I am so sorry for what you experienced.”

Just before 12PM on January 6, Alaska Airlines said in a statement that “as of this morning, inspections on more than a quarter of our 737-9 fleet are complete with no concerning findings”. The airline added that “aircraft will return to service as their inspections are completed”.

United Airlines has also pulled a handful of the Boeing Co. 737 Max 9 variant from service to conduct emergency inspections following the Alaska Airlines incident.

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