Portland Oregon’s Friday night flight on January 5, 2024, to Ontario California section of the plane ended up having a door missing mid-flight that is used to cover and seal emergency exit at an altitude of about 16,000 feet with 177 passengers and crew on board. The crew acted rapidly to keep passengers alive and led a successful emergency landing back in Portland in the US state of Oregon. According to passengers, no one was seated next to that door.
the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), swiftly reacted by investigating the incident, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) ordered the temporary grounding of 171 Boeing 737 Max 9 and required inspections of the Boeing 737 Max 9 planes before they were allowed to fly again, and Alaska Airlines grounded its fleet of 65 Boeing 737 Max 9 for inspection. Boeing expressed in a statement that “safety is our top priority, and we deeply regret the impact this event has had on our customers and their passengers.”
United and Alaska Airlines, major US carriers of Boeing 737 Max 9 said on January 8, 2024, they found more loose bolts and hardware after inspections of the grounded Boeing 737 Max 9. As a result, they canceled hundreds of flights and expected to cancel flights throughout the week. Former Boeing whistleblower ED Pierson who testified in Congress about 2 of the fatal crashes of Boeing 737 Max 8 in an interview with NBC News, expressed concerns that Boeing's culture has not changed.
According to a story published in The New York Times on January 8, 2024, federal investigators said late Monday that the bolts that were supposed to keep a fuselage panel in place might have been never installed before the panel blew off on Alaska Airlines Boeing 737 Max 9.
Alaska Airlines restricted Boeing 737 Max 9 from flying long routes over the ocean at the time the incident happened and only had permission to fly over land because warning lights for pressurization had come three times in recent weeks and in case of emergency it would be able to land quickly. According to an article published in CNBC on January 8, 2024, Boeing shares tumbled 8% after the FAA grounding of dozens of Boeing 737 Max 9 aircraft.
The History of Boeing 737 Max Plane
The Boeing 737 Max model went into service in May 2017, but it has a rocky history. In October 2018, a 737 Max operated by the Indonesian Airline Lion crashed after a few minutes of taking off leading to the death of all 189 on board. A few months later, an Ethiopian Airlines 737 Max plane crashed with 157 passengers on board, and they were killed just five months after the Indonesian Airline Lion crash.
As a result, Boeing 737 Maxes were grounded by the FAA for 20 months. The flaw in the software system made the plane dangerous. According to Boeing's estimation, the crisis cost the company $ 20.7 billion.
Image: The New York, Alaska Airlines, Boeing, National Transportation Safety Board By Helmuth Rosales
Edited by: Megha Siddapura Manjunatha
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