Certain Boeing 737-9 Max planes grounded by U.S. officials after incident

In a recent incident, an Alaska Airlines Boeing 737-9 Max jetliner suffered a blowout shortly after takeoff, resulting in a gaping hole in the fuselage. The plane, carrying 171 passengers and six crew members, made an emergency landing in Portland, Oregon, with no serious injuries reported. Following the incident, U.S. officials ordered the immediate grounding of some Boeing 737-9 Max jetliners for inspection. The required inspections are expected to take four to eight hours per aircraft and will affect approximately 171 airplanes worldwide.

Alaska Airlines has grounded all 65 of its Boeing 737-9 Max planes, with inspections already completed on 18 aircraft that were cleared to return to service. The remaining inspections are expected to be completed in the coming days. Canadian airlines have stated that they do not fly the Boeing 737-9 Max jetliners being grounded in the U.S.

Passenger accounts describe a loud bang followed by the deployment of oxygen masks. One passenger reported that a child's shirt was sucked out of the plane through the blown-out panel. The National Transportation Safety Board will investigate the incident.

This blowout incident comes after previous safety concerns with Boeing's 737 Max planes. The Max is the latest version of the Boeing 737, which went into service in 2017. In 2018 and 2019, two Max 8 jets crashed, resulting in 346 fatalities and a worldwide grounding of all Max 8 and Max 9 planes. The planes only returned to service after Boeing made changes to an automated flight control system implicated in the crashes.

In response to this incident, Alaska Airlines CEO Ben Minicucci expressed concern and apologized for the experience passengers had. The airline has cancelled over 100 flights, accounting for 15% of its Saturday schedule, while inspections are carried out. Boeing has agreed to pay $200 million to the Securities and Exchange Commission to settle civil charges related to misleading investors about the 737 Max crashes.

The investigation into the blowout incident will focus on understanding what occurred and ensuring the safety of these aircraft in the future.


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