Alaska And United Airlines Cancel Hundreds Of Flights In Wake Of Inflight Blowout

Alaska Airlines and United Airlines are the only two U.S. airlines that utilize Boeing 737 Max 9 jets in their fleets.

Alaska Airlines and United Airlines have canceled hundreds of flights as the federal government continues to investigate the Jan. 5 incident in which a door blew out on a Boeing 737 Max 9 jetliner mid-flight, the companies announced Wednesday.

Alaska is canceling up to 150 flights per day until at least Saturday while inspections of its fleet of 65 Boeing 737 Max jets continue, according to a statement from the company. Likewise, United canceled 167 flights Wednesday and expects to cancel more Thursday.

The cancellations come after the Federal Aviation Administration on Jan. 6 ordered the temporary grounding of all Max 9 aircraft operating in the U.S. until inspections are completed. The FAA seeks to avert a repeat of last Friday, when Alaska Airlines Flight 1282, from Portland, Oregon, to Ontario, California, was forced to land when a portion of the fuselage, the plug door, ripped away just minutes into the flight.

There were no injuries on Flight 1282, and the plane was able to safely return to the Oregon airport. The National Transportation Safety Board is investigating the incident.

Boeing 737 Max jets, introduced in 2017, have been criticized in recent years after two deadly crashes of the Max 8 version, one in 2018 in the Java Sea and one in 2019 in Ethiopia, Business Insider reported.

Alaska Airlines and United Airlines are the only two U.S. airlines that fly the Boeing 737 Max 9 jets, according to CNN. Since inspections began after Friday’s incident, both airlines have reported finding loose hardware on multiple planes in their fleets, Reuters reported Monday.

“Every Boeing 737-9 Max with a plug door will remain grounded until the FAA finds each can safely return to operation,” the FAA said Wednesday, adding that it’s working with Boeing to push forward with inspections and maintenance. “The safety of the flying public, not speed, will determine the timeline for returning the Boeing 737-9 Max to service.”

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