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It looks like Boeing 737 MAX 9 aircraft will be grounded for the foreseeable future. After the in-flight 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) is now investigating what happened and keeping these planes grounded.
This incident should have never happened and it cannot happen again. The FAA formally notified Boeing that it is conducting an investigation. pic.twitter.com/FJripns1CP
— The FAA ✈️ (@FAANews) January 11, 2024
The FAA notified Boeing today that it’s conducting an investigation. It reads:
This incident should have never happened and it cannot happen again. FAA formally notified Boeing that it is conducting an investigation to determine if Boeing failed to ensure completed products conformed to its approved design and were in a condition for safe operation in compliance with FAA regulations. This investigation is a result of an incident on a Boeing Model 737-9 MAX where it lost a “plug” type passenger door and additional discrepancies. Boeing’s manufacturing practices need to comply with the high safety standards they’re legally accountable to meet.
The safety of the flying public, not speed, will determine the timeline for returning the Boeing 737-9 MAX to service.”
Based on this statement, it looks like the Boeing 737 MAX 9 aircraft will not be flying anytime soon. United Airlines operates 79 of this aircraft type and Alaska Airlines has 64 in its fleet. With all of these planes out of service, there will be huge impacts to both carriers’ schedules. These aircraft will only return into service after the FAA is satisfied with the results of the investigation, which will likely take some time.
The FAA has given Boeing 10 days to provide “evidence or statements [that they] might care to make concerning this matter.” We’ll have to wait to see how Boeing replies.
Anthony’s Take: It’s good to see this being taken as seriously as it should be by the FAA, Boeing, and the airlines operating this aircraft type. Hopefully, they’ll be able to be inspected and returned into service as quickly as safely possible.
(Featured Image Credit: KTVL.)
(Image Credit: United Airlines.)
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