Alaska Airlines recently suffered a serious incident onboard one of its Boeing 737 MAX 9 aircraft. While climbing at 16,000 ft, the rear exit door of the brand new aircraft blew out. Luckily, no passengers were hurt.
Alaska Airlines Grounding Boeing 737 MAX 9 Fleet
Alaska Airlines in an internal communication with its pilots said that the airline is considering to ground its entire Boeing 737 MAX 9 fleet. The airline said that a Boeing 737 MAX 9 suffered a rapid decompression due to loss of a exit door and interior sidewall.
Alaska Airlines Chief Executive Officer Ben Minicucci announced that the airline is looking to temporarily ground all the MAX 9 jets. Each one of these aircraft will be thoroughly inspected. Only after these inspections, the aircraft will return to operational status. This inspections will be completed in next few days.
The CEO added that the airline is in close touch with Boeing as well as safety regulators to know the root cause of the incident. The National Transportation Safety Bureau as well as Federal Aviation Administration are investigating the incident. Thanking the crew members onboard, the CEO felt sorry for the passengers for this horrific experience.
An Alaska Airlines Boeing 737 MAX 9 was flying from Portland International Airport (PDX) to Ontario International Airport (ONT). The aircraft departed late from Portland. It was expected to depart at 04:40 PM. The aircraft departed after which it attained a maximum altitude of 16,325 ft. After this, it declared emergency and started diverting back to Portland. The aircraft with 171 passengers and 6 staff members landed safely at Portland Airport.
Witnesses who talked with KPTV said that as the door blew out, there was a tremendous thud and a hole emerged in the fuselage of the plane. The aircraft was flying at 16,000 feet when this occurred. Luckily, the window seat was empty, although there were reports that the suction pulled on a nearby child.
No injuries have been recorded as of now. A few travellers also lost their phones, as they were sucked from the aircraft. The oxygen masks on the aircraft dropped, allowing the passengers to breathe.
The Boeing 737 MAX 9 involved in this incident is a brand new jet registered as N704AL. The airframe is MSN 67501 with Line Number 8789. It conducted first ever test flight on 15th October 2023. Soon after which, it was delivered to Alaska Airlines. Alaska received delivery of this aircraft on 31 October, 2023. Powered by 2 CFM LEAP-1B engines, the aircraft bears Fleet Number 702 for Alaska Airlines.
Alaska Airlines has a fleet of 65 Boeing 737 MAX 9 jets. First aircraft was delivered in January 2021. The 65th jet to be delivered was N705AL. It was ferried for delivery on 13th December 2023.
Featured Image : “N932AK_JFK_Taxiing_Out_31L_AS_B737_9_Max_West_Coast_Wonders_Orca_Beacon_Small” by Mark Bess, Flickr is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0
Source : Alaska Airlines