FAA grounds more than 170 Boeing 737 Max 9s after Alaska Airlines panel blows out

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Passenger oxygen masks hang from the roof next to a missing window and a portion of a side wall of an Alaska Airlines Flight 1282, which had been bound for Ontario, California and suffered depressurization soon after departing, in Portland, Oregon, U.S., on Jan. 5, 2024, in this picture obtained from social media.

Instagram/@strawberrvy | Instagram/@strawberrvy Via Reute

The Federal Aviation Administration on Saturday ordered airlines to ground more than 170 Boeing 737 Max 9 aircraft for inspections, a day after after a panel on one blew out in the middle of an Alaska Airlines flight.

The emergency airworthiness directive will affect about 171 planes worldwide and applies to U.S. airlines and carriers operating in U.S. territory.

No serious injuries were reported aboard Alaska Airlines Flight 1282, according to federal safety officials. The flight returned to Portland, Oregon, shortly after takeoff on Friday after a pressurization issue was reported. Boeing delivered the plane late last year.

Images and video of Alaska’s Boeing 737 Max 9 shared on social media showed a gaping hole on the side of the plane and passengers using oxygen masks before it returned to Portland. It had been bound for Ontario, California.

Alaska Airlines overnight said it would ground its fleet of Boeing 737 Max 9 planes. United Airlines, the largest operator of the planes in the U.S., was preparing to ground dozens of its Boeing 737 Max 9 aircraft for inspections, CNBC reported earlier Saturday.

United has close to 80 of the planes in its fleet, though some of the jets have recently undergone in-depth, routine inspections.

The FAA said the inspections will take between four and eight hours per plane.

This is breaking news. Please check back for updates.

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