The FAA Allows the Boeing 737 MAX 9 to Fly Again

by Anthony Losanno
United 737 MAX 9

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The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) announced today that it is allowing Boeing 737 MAX 9 aircraft to once again take to the skies. After 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).

All aircraft operated by the two carriers will need to pass an enhanced maintenance and inspection process. Once complete, the door plugs on the 737 MAX 9 will be in compliance and deemed safe to operate. United Airlines announced plans to have its aircraft back in service by January 28th. All 79 of this aircraft type in United’s fleet will be 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

Alaska 737 MAX 9

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: Boeing has not been faring well lately. It’s good to see that the issue is fixable and that maintenance teams can ensure the aircraft’s safety. It will likely take some time to restore consumer confidence.

(Image Credits: Alaska Airlines and United Airlines.)

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