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Last month, an Alaska Airlines flight with the number 1282 had to make an unplanned landing in Portland, Oregon due to a doorplug malfunction. This occurred while the plane was at a height of 16,000 feet and caused a panel on the back of the aircraft to blow out.
The airline reported that some passengers were hurt while onboard the flight, but were later given the all-clear by medical experts. Pieces of the plane, such as iPhones and the doorplug, were discovered on the streets and in a nearby school teacher’s yard without damage.
On January 5th, 2024, an incident occurred that resulted in all Boeing 737 Max 9 planes being grounded. This event sparked investigations by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) into the aircraft manufacturer and Spirit AeroSystems, the company responsible for making the doorplug.
Hundreds of flights were cancelled due to the grounding. The National Transportation Safety Board is expected to release a preliminary report on their investigation this week.
During a town hall meeting, Boeing CEO David Calhoun spoke to employees about the emergency and stated that the company would take responsibility for the incident and recognize our error.
Reports indicate that the plane may have been missing the necessary bolts to secure the doorplug during its manufacture. After the incident, both Alaska Airlines and United Airlines, who collectively operate 79 of these planes, discovered loose bolts on some of their aircraft.
The planes’ models resumed flying in late January after undergoing thorough inspections supervised by the FAA.
Additionally, Boeing authorities have identified an issue with their aircraft that will necessitate the modification of 50 planes that have not yet been delivered.
This is all the information we have about the saga.
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Can you clarify what occurred onboard the Titanic?
After the incident, NTSB chair Jennifer Homendy stated in a press conference that the airplane’s auto depressurization light turned on shortly after takeoff while en route to Ontario, California.
The doorplug suddenly burst, causing a quick release of pressure. As a result, the cockpit door unexpectedly flew open, startling the two pilots. According to Ms. Homendy, the incident caused significant damage to the panelling, trim, and windows.
At one juncture, the oxygen masks were deployed on the aircraft. Four underage passengers were present and four flight attendants promptly checked on their well-being. Travelers expressed fear for their safety and contacted their family members.
The aircraft subsequently flew back to Portland International Airport.
The safety issues surrounding the Boeing 737 Max series have a long history.
Prior to the January incident, there had been previous concerns raised about the quality of Boeing aircraft. In October 2018, a malfunctioning sensor on a Max 8 jet triggered an anti-stall system, leading to a fatal crash near Jakarta, Indonesia. This tragic event resulted in the loss of all 189 passengers on board.
In the subsequent year, a Max 8 aircraft, operated by Ethiopian Airlines and en route to Nairobi, crashed in a field just six minutes after taking off. Tragically, all 157 passengers and crew members perished in the accident.
Two days after the Alaska Airlines event, the US Department of Justice reached a settlement with Boeing regarding the crashes involving the Max series. The company had previously faced allegations of conspiracy.
The total amount of the settlement was $2.5 billion. This money will be divided among compensation for Boeing customers, a fund for the families of crash victims, and a criminal fine.
In the previous month, Boeing faced renewed attention regarding safety issues when one of its planes encountered an engine malfunction and another experienced the loss of its nose wheel while on the runway.
Boeing announced on Sunday that they had identified an issue with misdrilled holes on approximately 50 of their 737 Max aircraft by Spirit Aerosystems.
“Our team member noticed a problem that does not meet engineering standards,” stated Joe Buccino, spokesperson for Spirit AeroSystems, in an interview with CNN. “As soon as we were informed, we took prompt steps to determine and execute appropriate fixes. We are working closely with Boeing to address this issue.”
The flight was immediately under investigation by the Federal Aviation Administration and National Transportation Safety Board following the emergency. NTSB chair Ms. Homendy described the incident as “terrifying” while the FAA stated that it should not have occurred and must be prevented from happening again.
The NTSB is set to release a preliminary report this week, with the full investigation estimated to take 18 months. The duration of the FAA’s investigation is currently unknown.
The production of 737 Max planes has been suspended by the government agency. In addition, the company’s manufacturing processes and production facilities are under investigation.
The FAA’s Mike Whitaker stated that no requests from Boeing for increased production or new production lines for the 737 Max will be accepted until they are assured that all quality control problems have been resolved.
What actions are airlines taking in response?
Both United Airlines and Alaska Airlines have hinted at the possibility of looking to Airbus for their future aircraft orders. In a January interview on CNBC, United Airlines CEO Scott Kirby expressed his dissatisfaction with Boeing’s recurring manufacturing obstacles.
He stated, “This is nothing new. I am disappointed.” When inquired about considering Airbus, the main competitor of Boeing, he replied, “I will observe and evaluate. It is clear that there is only one other manufacturer that is truly a possibility for us.”
In an interview with NBC News, Ben Minicucci, CEO of Alaska Airlines, stated that the company will prioritize the long-term success of Alaska in regards to our fleet composition. He also confirmed that Hawaiian Airlines, which we are currently acquiring, utilizes aircraft from Airbus.
What was the fate of the passengers aboard flight 1282?
Alaska Airlines compensated the 171 travelers on the January 5th flight with $1,500 as a compassionate gesture and also refunded their flight expenses. Furthermore, the airline offered resources for mental well-being.
Some travelers, nevertheless, decided to take action and filed lawsuits against Boeing.
Seven individuals filed a lawsuit in the Superior Court of Washington for King County last month, claiming that they experienced earbleeds, bruises, and headaches during the emergency that took place onboard.
Attorney Daniel Laurence, representing the plaintiffs, stated that the situation has resulted in financial, physical, and ongoing emotional repercussions for our clients which have significantly impacted them.