US FAA grounds 171 Boeing Max 9 jets after Alaska Airlines mid-air accident

SAN FRANCISCO, Jan. 7: The US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has ordered the temporary grounding of some Boeing 737 MAX 9 aircraft operated by US airlines or in US territory.

The order was issued following a serious mid-air incident on Friday when a part of a Boeing 737 MAX 9 fuselage blew out on an Alaska Airlines flight out of Portland, US state of Oregon.

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

The FAA said its Emergency Airworthiness Directive (EAD) will affect approximately 171 airplanes. Boeing has delivered a total of 218 MAX 9s worldwide.

The EAD will require operators to inspect aircraft before further flight that do not meet the inspection cycles specified in the EAD, the FAA said.

Alaska Airlines announced Friday night that it is temporarily grounding all 65 of its Boeing 737 Max 9 aircraft for inspections.

According to multiple reports, a piece of the fuselage blew out on an Alaska Airlines Boeing 737 Max 9 Friday, leaving a large hole and decompressing the passenger cabin.

The plane, destined for Ontario, California, made an emergency landing back in Portland 20 minutes after taking off.

“All 171 passengers and 6 crew were safe, with only some minor injuries,” Alaska Airlines said.