Alaska Airlines grounds fleet of Boeing 737 Max 9 aircraft

Alaska Airlines Grounds Fleet of Boeing 737 Max 9 Aircraft After Window Blows Out Midair

Alaska Airlines announced that it is grounding its fleet of 65 Boeing 737 Max 9 aircraft after a window and outer section blew out during a flight. This incident forced the Alaska Airlines flight to make an emergency landing in Portland. Fortunately, 177 passengers and crew on board landed safely. 

The incident happened 35 minutes into its flight to California, at 16,000 feet. Because of the gaping hole, the plane was depressurized. 

Passenger Diego Murillo told KPTV that the part that blew out was “as wide as a refrigerator.” He also described hearing a “really loud bang” before the oxygen masks dropped. 

Alaska Grounds Fleet of Boeing 737 Max 9 Aircraft

Alaska Airlines CEO Ben Minicucci announced in a statement that the airline “decided to take the precautionary step of temporarily grounding out our fleet of 65 Boeing 737-9 aircraft.” 

Each plane is expected to be returned to service following full maintenance and safety inspections. According to Minicucci, this process will take a few days to complete. 

So far, Alaska Airlines has not provided reasons for the midair incident. However, the United States National Transportation Safety Board and the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) are going to investigate the incident. 

The Boeing 737 Max 9 involved was delivered in late October to the airline and was certified in November according to FAA’s data. Boeing announced that it was aware of the emergency landing and is looking to gather more information. 

Newest Version of the Boeing 737

The Max went into service in 2017 and is the newest Boeing 737. However, Boeing 737 Max jets were grounded almost two years ago after two crash incidents. One was in Indonesia in 2018 which killed 189 people and the second one happened in Ethiopia five months later killing 157 individuals. 

It was later cleared to fly again after Boeing fixed its automated flight-control system. Right now, Boeing is still waiting for the certification of both the smaller 737 Max-7 and the larger Max-10. 

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John Michael Jayme
John Michael Jayme is a Travel Analyst for The Jet Set. He writes about news and events affecting the travel industry.

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