Updated January 8th, 2024 at 20:48 IST
Ripple Effect of Alaska Airlines Boeing 737-9 Max incident, all you need to know
As per the latest update, DGCA informed that the inspection checks of Boeing 737-8 Max planes have underwent a satisfactory check
Mid-Air Mishap: After the Boeing 737-9 Max aircraft operated by Alaska airlines' window detached on January 6, en route to Ontario, California from Portland, the airline decided on grounding its entire fleet of Boeing 737-9 Max flights.
The Alaska Air 1282 aircraft carrying 171 passengers and six flight crew members, according to Alaska Airlines.
The mid-air damage to the aircraft had led to minor injuries among the onboard passengers, although no major casualties occurred.
The aircraft in question was in mid-air for about 20 minutes after it reached a maximum altitude of 16,300 feet, FlightRadar24, a 24/7 flight tracking website, said.
The ripple effect of this incident came immediately in the form of 160 flight cancellations by Alaska Airlines on January 7, and 60 flights cancelled for today.
Confirming the imminent impact on operations, Alaska Airlines said, “We have cancelled 170 Sunday flights and 60 cancellations for Monday, with more expected. Cancellations will continue through the first half of the week, and we encourage guests with travel plans to continue to check their email and alaskaair.com for updates.”
In the US, Alaska Airlines and United Airlines are the only operators of the Boeing 737-Max 9 aircraft. The former passenger-carrier mentioned that the flight schedule disruptions would last through till midweek.
Image credit: Youtube
DGCA's precautionary measure
Globally, the aviation industry fell the major cause of concern with the national aviation regulator, Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA), mandating an immediate inspection of emergency exits on all Boeing 737-8 Max planes.
The Boeing 737-9 Max is not operational in India.
Presently, Air India Express, SpiceJet, and Akasa Air operate Boeing 737-8 Max planes within their fleets.
This directive puts a strong focus on increase in vigilance with regards to safety protocols, ensuring that emergency exit inspections are completed thoroughly to avoid any possible issues similar to the January 6 Alaska Airlines incident.
As per the latest update, DGCA informed that the inspection checks of Boeing 737-8 Max planes have underwent a satisfactory check.
"These checks have been satisfactorily performed on the fleet of operational fleet of Boeing B737-8 Max aircraft by Air India Express (4), Spicejet (8) and Akasa (20)," as per the national aviation regulatory body's statement.
Image credit: Alaska Airlines
Alaska Airlines had received the Boeing 737-9 Max plane from the world's top flight manufacturer in October, while having received its certification in November previous year, according to the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) data.
The Boeing-737 Max 9's modular fuselage layout allows variable emergency door installations based on seating configurations, providing operators with cabin layout flexibility, as per a Bloomberg report.
Alaska Airlines' approach involves permanently "plugging" some doors, unlike other configurations, it said.
As of now, Alaska Airlines has not provided information about the possible cause, although the NTSB and the FAA are investigating the incident.
In the last few years, Boeing has faced multiple manufacturing challenges, with drilling holes and inspections related to the rudder control system.
In 2018, and 2019, Boeing's 737 Max planes were grounded globally following after the two MAX 8 crashes, causing the death of 346 people.
After the recent incident left the Alaska Airlines flustered, Boeing said its technical team is ready to support the investigation, "We are aware of the incident involving Alaska Airlines Flight AS1282."
"We are working to gather more information and are in contact with our airline customer. A Boeing technical team stands ready to support the investigation," it said.
Image credit: Unsplash (Representative Image)
Aviation sector reaction
Aeromexico said it was grounding all of its 737 Max 9 planes while inspections are carried out, citing media reports.
Airline flydubai on Sunday informed that the three Boeing 737 Max 9 planes in its fleet were not affected, according to Khaleej Times.
The European Union Aviation Safety Agency adopted the FAA’s grounding directive, but said no European Union (EU) member state airlines “currently operate an aircraft in the affected configuration," as per media reports.
Published January 8th, 2024 at 20:40 IST