The Federal Aviation Administration said Saturday it will temporarily ground some Boeing 737 Max 9 planes used by U.S. airlines after a portion of the wall appeared to come off an Alaska Airlines plane in midair.
The Federal Aviation Administration said it would also ground 737 MAX 9 aircraft operating in US territory. The Federal Aviation Administration said that the order will include a total of about 171 aircraft out of 218 aircraft worldwide.
“The FAA is requiring immediate inspections of some Boeing 737 MAX 9 aircraft before they can return to flying,” said Mike Whitaker, FAA Administrator. “Safety will continue to drive our decision making as we help [National Transportation Safety Board’s] Investigation of Alaska Airlines Flight 1282.
No serious injuries were reported on board the plane, which returned and landed safely at Portland International Airport on Saturday evening.
The FAA said in its guidance that the decision to ground all 737 MAX 9 aircraft stems from “a report of a mid-cabin door seal coming off during flight, resulting in rapid depressurization of the aircraft,” a reference to the Alaska Airlines incident. .
The agency added that it is issuing this directive due to unsafe conditions that could occur in a similar scenario in another aircraft of the same type, including “injury to passengers and crew, collision with the aircraft door, and/or loss of control of the aircraft.” The Plane.”
Boeing said it supports the FAA's decision.
“Safety is our top priority and we deeply regret the impact this event has had on our customers and their passengers,” Boeing said in a statement. “We agree with and fully support the FAA's decision to request immediate inspections of 737-9 aircraft in the same configuration as the affected aircraft.”
A technical team from Boeing is supporting the NTSB investigation, the statement said.
“We will remain in close contact with our regulators and customers,” Boeing said.
Alaska Airlines temporarily grounded all 65 of its 737 MAX 9 aircraft on Saturday for maintenance and safety checks. It said a quarter of inspections had been completed “without worrying findings” and so far 18 aircraft had been cleared to return to service on Saturday. The remaining inspections of the aircraft are expected to be completed within the next few days.
United has temporarily suspended service on select Boeing 737 MAX 9 aircraft for inspection. The removal is expected to cause about 60 people to cancel.
Panama's Copa Airlines also said it was complying with the order and temporarily suspending its flights on planes.
Flight 1282 was headed to Ontario International Airport in San Bernardino County, California, but returned to Portland, Oregon, shortly after takeoff.
The FAA said the plane returned to the airport after the crew “reported a pressure issue.”
According to FlightAware, an air travel tracking website, the flight took off from Portland at 5:07 p.m. and landed in Portland at 5:27 p.m.
It is not clear how and when the panel became detached from the passenger plane.
The plane was carrying 174 passengers and six crew members, according to Alaska Airlines, which initially described what happened as an “accident.” A photo taken by a passenger on board the plane showed an entire panel missing from one side of the plane's fuselage, next to a row of seats.
Kyle Rinker posted a photo from inside the plane on the social media platform Xalong with the caption, “When the plane wall breaks mid-flight.”
A passenger on the plane gave only her name as Elizabeth said NBC affiliate KGW From Portland, Oregon, the accident occurred about 20 minutes after leaving Portland Airport.
“Everything was going well until we heard a loud bang! Or like a boom,” she said. “And I looked up, and the air masks had opened downward.”
“I looked to my left, and there was this huge gap, on the left side where the window was,” she told the station in a phone interview. She said the wind was very loud.
She added that everyone was wearing seat belts and that people remained calm.
“The safety of our guests and employees is always our primary priority, so although this type of event is rare, our flight crew is trained and prepared to manage the situation safely,” Alaska said in a statement.
Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg said Saturday morning that he “has been briefed on last night's incident and will remain so.”[s] “We are in close contact with the FAA regarding a response.”
“Web maven. Infuriatingly humble beer geek. Bacon fanatic. Typical creator. Music expert.”