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Boeing 737 Max 9 checks reveal loose hardware, prompting grounding, safety measures

Byusanewscart.com

Jan 9, 2024

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Inspections initiated after a section of the fuselage fell from an Alaska Airlines 737 Max 9

Boeing 737 Max 9 inspections uncover loose hardware, prompting grounding and safety measures.—Reuters
Boeing 737 Max 9 inspections uncover loose hardware, prompting grounding and safety measures.—Reuters

United Airlines has revealed the discovery of bolts requiring “additional tightening” during inspections of Boeing 737 Max 9s, leading to safety concerns and grounding by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).

The inspections were initiated following an incident where a section of the fuselage fell from an Alaska Airlines 737 Max 9.

United Airlines acknowledged “installation issues” related to door plugs, emphasising that these would be addressed before the aircraft type resumes service. The door plug, a fuselage piece implicated in the incident, is under scrutiny after an emergency landing in Oregon, where it fell off mid-flight.

The FAA has grounded 171 planes of the same type, with United Airlines and Alaska being major operators. United Airlines reported the cancellation of 200 flights as a precaution, expecting more significant cancellations, while Alaska Airlines highlighted preliminary reports of “some loose hardware” on its 737 Max 9 fleet.

The FAA issued a checklist for enhanced inspections of all 737 Max 9 aircraft, including cabin door exit plugs, door components, and fasteners. The statement emphasised that corrective actions based on inspection findings must be completed before any aircraft returns to service.

Flight 1282’s emergency descent highlighted a wide hole in the aircraft’s side, triggering oxygen masks and passenger distress. The US National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) is investigating the incident, revealing pressurisation warnings on previous flights involving the specific Alaska Airlines Max 9.

Boeing expressed regret over the impact on customers and passengers, emphasising safety as the top priority. The 737 Max has faced intense scrutiny since the 2018-2019 incidents, leading to software-related crashes and heightened safety measures.

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