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Updated January 9th, 2024 at 09:10 IST

Alaska Air finds loose hardware on some 737 MAX 9 fleet

Regulators in the United States grounded as many as 171 MAX 9 planes after a door plug panel blew off in the Boeing 737 MAX 9 aircraft operated by the airlines.

Reported by: Business Desk
Edited by: Tanmay Tiwary
Alaska Airlines
Alaska Airlines | Image:Pexels
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Accident aftermath: Alaska Air technicians have found some loose hardware in the door plug area on some of its Boeing 737 MAX 9 fleet.

Regulators in the United States grounded as many as 171 MAX 9 planes after a door plug panel blew off in the Boeing 737 MAX 9 aircraft operated by the airlines.

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The flight had taken off from a Portland, Oregon, airport last week, forcing pilots to scramble to land the plane safely after a cabin blow off that injured passengers, but did not claim any lives.

"As our maintenance technicians began preparing our 737-9 MAX fleet for inspections, they accessed the area in question," Alaska Air said, referring to the door plug panel area.

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Initial reports from our technicians indicate some loose hardware was visible on some aircraft, the airline added.

United Airlines earlier said it had found loose bolts on multiple grounded MAX 9 aircraft, raising new concerns among industry experts about how its best-selling jet family is manufactured.

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The National Transportation Safety Board had said no passengers were seated near the cabin panel that blew out on the flight, as the two seats adjacent to it were vacant.

Notably, the aircraft is eight weeks old.

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The incident has led to several regulators including India’s DGCA as well as Turkish Airlines taking cognisance and action among US and foreign regulators sending in queries.

Social media posts showed the cabin panel blowing out, causing no fatalities but severe injuries.

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Boeing has suffered numerous production issues on its MAX planes. A British air safety regulator said it would require any 737 MAX 9 operator to comply with the FAA directive of grounding to enter its airspace.

An Oregon schoolteacher found the panel, known as a mid-cabin door plug that is used to replace an exit that would be installed on planes configured to carry more passengers. The same has been sent to NTSB for inspection.

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US authorities investigating the incident had asked people in the Cedar Hills suburb of Portland, Oregon to look out for the missing door plug as a crucial piece of evidence.

(With Reuters Inputs)

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Published January 9th, 2024 at 09:09 IST

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