United Airlines said Monday it found loose bolts and other “installation issues” on a part of some Boeing 737-9 Max jets that were inspected after a mid-flight blowout on a similar Alaska Airlines jet on Friday.
U.S. grounded Max 9s used by United, Alaska Airlines after blowout incidentThe Associated Press
· Posted: Jan 08, 2024 5:14 PM EST | Last Updated: 1 hour ago
A Boeing 737 Max 9 built for United Airlines is seen in Moses Lake, Wash., in November 2020 (Ted S. Warren/The Associated Press)United Airlines said Monday it found loose bolts and other “installation issues” on a part of some Boeing 737-9 Max jets that were inspected after a mid-flight blowout on a similar Alaska Airlines jet on Friday.
The inspections are focused on plugs used to seal an area set aside for extra emergency doors that are not required on United and Alaska Max 9s.
“Since we began preliminary inspections on Saturday, we have found instances that appear to relate to installation issues in the door plug — for example, bolts that needed additional tightening,” Chicago-based United said.
The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) grounded all Max 9s operated by Alaska and United and some flown by foreign airlines after a door on Alaska Airlines Flight 1282 blew out at 16,000 feet Friday night, prompting an emergency landing in Oregon. None of the 171 passengers and six crew members was seriously injured.
The U.S. National Transportation Safety Board said the lost door plug was found Sunday near Portland, Ore., in a the backyard of a home. Investigators will examine the plug, which is 66 by 121 centimetres and weighs 28.5 kilograms, for signs of how it broke free.
NTSB has recovered the door plug from Alaska Airlines Flight 1282 Boeing 737-9 MAX. NTSB investigators are currently examining the door plug and will send it to the NTSB Materials Laboratory in Washington, DC for further examination. pic.twitter.com/fqeemNeBPW
—@NTSB_NewsroomOn Monday, the FAA approved guidelines for inspecting the door plugs on other Max 9 jets and repairing them, if necessary. That move could speed the return to service of the 171 planes that the FAA grounded.
Alaska has 64 other Max 9s, and United Airlines owns 79 of them. No other U.S. airlines operate that model of the Boeing 737.
WATCH | Alaska Airlines plane had issues before mid-air blowout:
Loose bolts among issues reported on some Boeing 737 Max 9 planesUnited Airlines says it found loose bolts on some of its Boeing 737 Max 9 planes during inspections prompted by a panel that blew out during an Alaska Airlines flight last week. Investigators also say warning lights on the plane that suffered the blowout had gone off during previous flights.