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Updated January 6th, 2024 at 15:36 IST

Boeing 737 Max 9: Alaska Airlines issues explanation after grounding aircraft

Alaska Airlines confirmed on platform X (formerly Twitter) that Flight 1282, with 171 guests and 6 crew members, landed safely after the incident.

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Alaska Airlines
Alaska Airlines | Image:Pexels
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Alaska's assurance: Following a distressing mid-flight incident involving a blown-out window, Alaska Airlines proactively grounded its entire fleet of 65 Boeing 737 Max 9 planes as a precaution after an emergency landing. On platform X (formerly known as Twitter), the airline confirmed the incident on Flight 1282, assuring everyone that the aircraft, carrying 171 guests and 6 crew members, landed safely.

"AS1282 from Portland to Ontario, CA faced an emergency landing. The aircraft safely returned to Portland International Airport with 171 guests and 6 crew members. We are actively investigating and will provide updates as available," the airline tweeted.

AS1282 from Portland to Ontario, CA experienced an incident this evening soon after departure. The aircraft landed safely back at Portland International Airport with 171 guests and 6 crew members. We are investigating what happened and will share more as it becomes available.

— Alaska Airlines (@AlaskaAir) January 6, 2024

 
The incident occurred on Flight 1282 at 16,000 feet shortly after takeoff, resulting in a significant hole in the fuselage. Passengers reported witnessing insulation material and debris through the gap, with the affected area situated in the back third of the plane not designated as an emergency exit for Alaska Airlines.

Image credit: @DramaAlert/X

CEO emphasises safety first

CEO Ben Minicucci expressed sympathy for affected passengers and commended the pilots and flight attendants for their response. Images from inside the aircraft revealed a leaning, unoccupied window seat without its cushion. Oxygen masks were deployed during the incident.

Alaska Airlines has released a statement explaining the decision to ground the Boeing 737 Max 9 fleet. Minicucci emphasised safety as their foundational value, announcing a temporary grounding until full maintenance and safety inspections are completed. The airline is collaborating with Boeing and regulators to understand the incident, with the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) conducting an investigation.

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"At Alaska Airlines, safety is our foundational value and the most important thing we focus on every day. Following tonight’s event on Flight 1282, we have decided to take the precautionary step of temporarily grounding our fleet of 65 Boeing 737-9 aircraft. Each aircraft will be returned to service only after completion of full maintenance and safety inspections. We anticipate all inspections will be completed in the next few days," said Ben Minicucci in the statement.

Alaska Airlines is working to reaccommodate affected guests and apologises for the inconvenience. The airline assures a timely and transparent review of the situation. Passengers are encouraged to visit the Alaska Airlines website for self-service options.

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The Boeing 737 Max, previously grounded for safety modifications, resumed service after addressing concerns following two fatal crashes. The FAA recently urged inspections of Max models for potential issues in rudder control systems. Boeing is committed to increasing the pace of 737 Max deliveries after resolving supply errors. About 1,300 737 Max aircraft have been delivered to customers, according to Boeing data.

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Published January 6th, 2024 at 15:36 IST

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