Boeing faces global scrutiny following Alaska Airline incident

Alaska Airlines’ 737 Max 9, involved in a mid-flight fuselage break, undergoes maintenance at Portland International Airport after emergency landing on January 6, 2024.
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USA

Boeing finds itself grappling with renewed safety concerns as federal authorities announce a temporary grounding of select Boeing 737 Max planes following a distressing incident involving an Alaska Airlines jetliner.

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has issued an emergency order mandating immediate inspections for some Max 9 planes, impacting a global fleet of approximately 171 aircraft.

This development compounds the challenges facing Boeing, given the history of two fatal crashes involving its Max line-up. In the most recent incident, an Alaska Airlines Boeing 737 Max 9 experienced a fuselage panel blowout shortly after takeoff, resulting in a swift loss of cabin pressure.

While remarkably no injuries were reported, the FAA’s emergency order intensifies scrutiny on the safety of Boeing’s best-selling plane, raising concerns within the aviation industry.

The repercussions of this safety directive are palpable for Alaska Airlines, which had to cancel 141 flights, amounting to 20% of its scheduled departures on Monday. 

The airline foresees travel disruptions extending at least through mid-week. United, having grounded its 79 MAX 9s, faced the cancellation of 226 flights on Monday, constituting 8% of its scheduled departures.

Notably, out of the 171 planes affected by the FAA order, 144 are currently operating in the United States, as per data from aviation analytics firm Cirium. 

International carriers, including Turkish Airlines, Panama’s Copa Airlines, and Aeromexico, have also announced the grounding of affected jets in compliance with the safety directive. 

This widespread response underscores the gravity of the situation, with airlines prioritizing passenger safety amid heightened scrutiny and ongoing investigations.

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