Alaska Airlines Incident Prompts FAA to Ground 171 Boeing Aircraft for Inspection

Alaska Airlines Incident Prompts FAA to Ground 171 Boeing Aircraft for Inspection

OREGON- The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) announced that 171 planes would undergo inspections following an emergency landing of an Alaska Airlines flight in Oregon on Friday.

United Airlines confirmed compliance with the FAA's inspection requirements for some of its 79 Boeing 737 Max 9 planes, anticipating approximately 60 cancellations on Saturday due to the temporary removal of certain aircraft from service.

The FAA issued a temporary grounding order for specific Boeing 737 Max 9 aircraft operated by US airlines or within US territory, with inspections estimated to take four to eight hours per aircraft. Turkish Airlines also recalled its five planes of the same model for checks.

During the incident on Friday, the Alaska Airlines flight en route from Portland, Oregon, to Ontario, California, experienced an emergency descent at 16,000 feet. The flight, carrying 177 passengers and crew, safely returned to Portland, and the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) is investigating the occurrence.

NTSB Chair Jennifer Homendy emphasized the fortunate absence of injuries and revealed that no one was seated in the affected section. The UK's Civil Aviation Authority confirmed no UK-registered Boeing 737 Max 9 aircraft and urged non-UK carriers to conduct inspections before operating in UK airspace.

Witness accounts and images revealed a structural failure in the fuselage, with insulation material and debris visible. The cause of the incident remains unknown, and there were no immediate reports of injuries.

Passenger Evan Smith described a loud bang and the deployment of air masks, while Terry Tozer, a former airline pilot, highlighted the risk posed by the detached section in case of emergency.

Alaska Airlines CEO Ben Minicucci announced the grounding of 65 planes for inspections, with over a quarter cleared for service after inspections revealed no issues. Boeing expressed support for the FAA's decision and pledged cooperation with the NTSB's investigation, acknowledging the impact on customers and passengers.

This incident marks the latest challenge for Boeing's 737 Max, previously grounded for nearly two years following crashes in 2018 and 2019.

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