- The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) grounds 171 Boeing 737 MAX 9 planes for safety checks following an emergency landing.
- NTSB Chair, Jennifer Homendy states this incident could have lead to a more tragic outcome.
- Alaska Air halts 18 flights and collaborates with the FAA on necessary safety measures.
- Boeing supports the FAA’s decision and is working towards recertification of the 737 MAX series plane.
Unoccupied Seats save lives
NTSB Chair Jennifer Homendy stated at a late-night press conference on Saturday, that it was a fortunate coincidence that the two seats next to the fuselage section that blew out were not occupied. “We were extremely lucky to avoid a more tragic outcome,” stated Homendy.
FAA Grounds Boeing 737 Max 9s
The FAA, on Saturday, caution placed on 171 Boeing 737 MAX 9 jets for safety inspections. This is a response to an emergency landing of a plane that was in operation for just two months.
Incident Analysis and Response
The FAA began an investigation into the potential structural failure that left a rectangular hole in the section of the fuselage reserved for an extra but disabled door on Alaska Air ‘s plane. “We’ll follow where the investigation leads us,” Homendy stated, and appealed to the public for their assistance in retrieving the missing door plug.
Alaska Air response to FAA’s Order
Alaska Air revealed that it has suspended flights by 18 of its MAX 9 planes which were reactivated after the recent comprehensive inspections. The airline is also in talks with the FAA about any more inspections that might be needed before returning these planes to service again.
Impact on Alaska and United Airlines
Alaska Air and United Airlines, the only US carriers operating the MAX 9, were affected by this incident. Alaska Air canceled 20% of its scheduled journeys on Saturday, while United suspended 4% of its departures.
Boeing’s Challenges with the MAX Series
Boeing is currently awaiting the certification of its smaller MAX 7 and larger MAX 10 models which are needed to compete with Airbus A321neo model. Over the past couple of years since the crashes, Boeing has struggled with numerous production issues on the MAX planes.
The grounding of the Boeing 737 Max 9s could potentially impact the aviation sector and thus the market. It could affect trading, particularly with assets related to Boeing or airlines that heavily utilize this aircraft.