FAA Grounds 171 Boeing 737 Max-9 Aircraft Following Dramatic In-Flight Incident


Hailey Gomez General Assignment Reporter
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The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) announced Saturday that over a hundred Boeing 737 Max-9 aircraft will be temporarily grounded worldwide, following a Friday incident with an Alaska Airlines flight in which a large window section ejected shortly after taking off.

The FAA released a press statement Saturday ordering the “temporary grounding” of 171 Boeing 737 Max-9 aircrafts worldwide. The aviation administration stated an Emergency Airworthiness Directive (EAD) will be issued requiring “operators to inspect” the aircrafts prior to flights that don’t “meet the inspection cycles specified in the EAD,” with examinations taking around four to eight hours per aircraft, the statement read.

“The FAA is requiring immediate inspections of certain Boeing 737 MAX 9 planes before they can return to flight,” FAA Administrator Mike Whitaker stated. “Safety will continue to drive our decision-making as we assist the NTSB’s investigation into Alaska Airlines Flight 1282.”

The new worldwide grounding comes after Alaska Airlines flight 1282, utilizing a Boeing 737 Max-9 plane, took off Friday night from Portland, Oregon, heading to Ontario, California, before suffering from a large window ejection, according to NBC News. (RELATED: United Airlines Flight Delay Ruins Time Travelers’ Bid For Double New Year)

Following the incident, Alaska Airlines announced Saturday they would be temporarily grounding all 65 of their newly released Boeing 737 Max-9 aircrafts. Alaska CEO Ben Minicucci stated the grounding would be for precautionary maintenance and safety inspections, which are expected to be completed within the “next few days,” according to a statement posted online.

Video footage posted on X (formerly Twitter) appeared to show the plane in the air with the window wide open. Emergency oxygen masks could be seen dangling over passengers’ seats as a passenger recording the incident stated she had heard from an airline attendant the seat next to the open window had been empty prior to the emergency.

The flight reportedly took off at around 5 p.m. before the window blew out at 16,000 feet, the pressure ripping off a child’s shirt, the Daily Mail reported. One child had to be held in his seat by his mother and some people’s phones were sucked out of the plane, one passenger told KPTV. (RELATED: Man Climbs Into Jet Engine At Salt Lake City International Airport, Dies)

“Everything was going fine until we just heard like a loud bang! Or like a boom,” one passenger told KGW8. “And I look up, and the air masks are, like, out, popped down.”

“And I looked to my left, and there’s just this huge gaping hole, on the left side where the window is.”

No reports of injuries from the 174 passenger and 6 crew member flight have been reported, NBC News stated. A spokesperson for the Portland International Airport confirmed that the flight had landed safely back at the airport shortly after the incident, according to the outlet.

The FAA additionally stated that the airline crew had “reported a pressurization issue,” however, there has been no confirmed reasoning behind the incident as the investigation is ongoing, NBC News reported.

The Boeing 737-9 Max had just been released from the assembly line in November after receiving a certification of approval that same month by the FAA, according to Daily Mail.

Boeing released a statement in response, noting that they were aware of the situation and are currently “working to gather more information,” according to NBC News.

“We are working to gather more information and are in contact with our airline customer,” the company stated. “A Boeing technical team stands ready to support the investigation.”

As the FAA and Alaska Airlines have stated that they are probing the incident, the National Transportation Safety Board has also launched a Go Team to the Portland in order to investigate further, NBC News reported.