The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) slammed the brakes on Boeing’s 737 Max jetliners this week, grounding the planes over a scary mid-air incident. It’s the latest turbulence for Boeing as they try to get their star jets back on track after past problems.
The decision came after an Alaska Airlines flight on Friday lost a panel on its left side, causing the cabin to suddenly decompress. With a gaping hole in the plane’s side, the pilots had to make an emergency descent and turn the plane around. Thankfully, they were able to land the plane safely back in Portland with all 171 passengers and crew unharmed.
But the FAA wasn’t taking any chances. They ordered that all 737 Max 9 jets worldwide – about 171 planes – be temporarily grounded for safety checks. They said the Alaska Airlines panel blowout raised concerns that similar failures could happen on other Max 9’s, risking “injury to passengers and crew.”
Boeing said they support the FAA’s call for immediate inspections before the planes start flying again. They also offered technical help to investigate why the panel failed in the first place.
This is just the latest headache for Boeing’s 737 Max program. The entire fleet was grounded for nearly two years after deadly crashes in 2018 and 2019. Boeing has also faced manufacturing problems, delays in deliveries, and requests for safety exemptions on the Max models.
The company knows they have to restore confidence in their flagship jets. With the FAA scrutiny and Alaska Airlines incident, Boeing’s 737 Max just can’t seem to lift off from its recent troubles. The planes will stay parked until the FAA gives the all-clear, putting safety first in determining when the Max can safely return to the skies again.