Boeing 737 Max 9: Alaska and United Airlines announce when fleet will return to service after blowout incident

Alaska and United Airlines have announced when grounded Boeing 737 Max 9 planes will return to service after the window blowout incident
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Alaska Airlines and United Airlines have issued a new update regarding the service of their Boeing 737 Max 9 planes after the window blowout incident on 5 January. The plug covering an unused exit door blew off as the Alaska Airlines plane took off over Oregon. Passengers had to cling on and it reportedly caused a T-shirt to tear off from a child’s back. 

The Federal Aviation Authority (FAA) subsequently ordered the grounding of the affected fleet of Boeing Max 9 planes, including those operated by other carriers. It said the fleet would remain grounded until the regulator was satisfied they were safe.

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On Saturday 20 January a nose wheel fell off a Boeing 757 plane as it was preparing to take off on the runway at Atlanta's international airport. According to the air traffic control audio included in the FAA report, reported by ABC news, a controller is heard alerting the pilot, saying: “One of your nose tires just came off. It just rolled off the runway behind you.” According to the outlet citing the details of the FAA report the nose wheel landed on the south side of the runway.

The incident once again brings in the question of how safe Boeing aircraft are. On Tuesday 23 January the CEO of Alaska Airlines said he is “angry” about the incident on 5 January and revealed loose bolts have been found on “many” Boeing aircraft.

Alaska and United Airlines have announced when grounded Boeing 737 Max 9 planes will return to service after the window blowout incident. (Photo: AFP via Getty Images)Alaska and United Airlines have announced when grounded Boeing 737 Max 9 planes will return to service after the window blowout incident. (Photo: AFP via Getty Images)
Alaska and United Airlines have announced when grounded Boeing 737 Max 9 planes will return to service after the window blowout incident. (Photo: AFP via Getty Images)

Despite this, both Alaska Airlines and United Airlines have issued an update on when their fleet of Boeing 737 Max 9 planes will be returning to service. Posting on the social media platform X, formerly known as Twitter, yesterday (Wednesday 24 January), Alaska Airlines said it expects to “safely bring the first planes back into scheduled commercial service on Friday”.

The statement added: “No aircraft will be returned to the skies until rigorous inspection is completed based on FAA requirements and Alaska standards to ensure airworthiness. Safety is our top priority for all our aircraft and everyone on board.”

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Michael Toth replied to the announcement on X saying: “If it’s Boeing, I ain’t going. Simple as.” Another user said: “Too late, never would I board a 737, or any Boeing for that matter…”.

Aviation website FlightRadar posted on X that the latest update from United Airlines. It said: “United Airlines says following inspections and any corrective actions, it expects to have its first 737-9 MAX aircraft back in service on Sunday.”

Another user replied to the tweet saying he would not board a Boeing Max plane following the Alaska Airline incident. The user posted on X: “Nope. Not for me. If my flight is scheduled for a Boeing plane with Max in the name, I am rescheduling.”

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