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Alaska Airlines has started to fly its Boeing 737 MAX 9 aircraft again. The first flight took off today between Seattle-Tacoma International Airport (SEA) and San Diego International Airport (SAN).
The Boeing 737 MAX 9 has been on everyone’s mind since the harrowing, January 5th incident onboard Alaska Airlines flight AS1282 (more here) and the subsequent investigations conducted by both Alaska and United Airlines where more loose bolts were discovered (more here). The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) announced on Wednesday that it is allowing Boeing 737 MAX 9 aircraft to once again take to the skies.
The flight departed a little over an hour late and landed without incident. United Airlines has announced that it will begin flying its own Boeing 737 MAX 9 planes on January 28th.
Alaska Airlines has returned the 737 MAX 9 to service! The first flight (#AS1146) is already in the air… although it's over an hour late "due to a late inbound aircraft" 😅
Alaska also shared the following photos from its inspections. pic.twitter.com/N6I4Dj3liG
— JT Genter (@JTGenter) January 27, 2024
All aircraft operated by the two carriers needed to pass an enhanced maintenance and inspection process. Once it was completed, the door plugs on the 737 MAX 9 were in compliance and deemed safe to operate. All of this aircraft type in Alaska and United’s fleets are being put through the following process:
- Specific bolts, guide tracks, and fittings will be inspected
- Detailed visual inspections of left and right mid-cabin exit door plugs and dozens of associated components
- Retorquing fasteners
- Correcting any damage or abnormal conditions
The issues around the Boeing 737 MAX 9 have brought into question the future of United’s purchasing the Boeing 737 MAX 10. United was set to be the launch customer for this aircraft, but during its Q4 earnings call it noted that it was doing its route planning without it. The Chicago-based carrier had initially ordered 150 of this aircraft.
Anthony’s Take: I’m sure there were some nervous passengers onboard the first flight on this aircraft type since the incident. We’ll see what the future holds for Boeing with United saying that it will cancel its Boeing 737 MAX 10 order. It’s a good thing that this issue was found and hopefully this will be the last one from Boeing.
(Featured Image Credit: Alaska Airlines via @JTGenter on X.)
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