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Monday 8 January 2024

Crisis of confidence as 171 planes grounded

Anyone who has flown would have been horrified by the images over the weekend of an Air Alaska Boeing 737 Max 9 aircraft with a large hole in the side of the fuselage.

The US Federal Aviation Administration grounded all Boeing 737 Max 9 jets after the incident.

The frightening mid-flight incident on an Alaska Airlines flight between Portland, Oregon and Ontario in California.

Shortly after the plane's take-off a fuselage panel including a window blew out. The plane landed safely back at Portland without any injuries.

“The FAA is requiring immediate inspections [of all Max 9 aircraft] before they can return to flight,” FAA administrator Mike Whitaker said. “Safety will continue to drive our decision-making.”

The agency said inspection of each aircraft will take four to eight hours, Travel Mole reported.

There are currently 171 Boeing 737 Max 9 jets in service - although none of them are flown by Australian or UK carriers.

Video taken aafter the incident showed a large gap where the panel blew out. Passenger oxygen masks were deployed.

The aircraft is just a few months old, having received its certificate of airworthiness in October, 2023.

“My heart goes out to those who were on this flight – I am so sorry for what you experienced,” Alaska Airlines CEO Ben Minicucci said. 

Boeing issued a statement regretting the incident’s impact and supporting the FAA’s decision.

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