Following a mid-air emergency, Alaska Airlines has taken a precautionary measure by grounding its entire fleet of 65 Boeing 737-9 aircraft.
The incident occurred on Friday night during Alaska flight 1282, which was en route from Portland International Airport to Ontario, California. A window blew out mid-air at an altitude of 16,000 feet.
Alaska Airlines CEO Ben Minicucci reassured that all 174 passengers and six crew members landed safely, and no serious injuries were reported.
In response to the incident, he pledged a thorough and transparent investigation, acknowledging the need for urgent review of the affected aircraft.
“Following tonight’s event on Flight 1282, we have decided to take the precautionary step of temporarily grounding our fleet of 65 Boeing 737-9 aircraft,” Minicucci said in a statement. “My heart goes out to those who were on this flight – I am so sorry for what you experienced.”
The Boeing 737-9 MAX involved in the incident had received certification from the Federal Aviation Authority (FAA) in November 2023, just two months prior to the flight.
Passengers on board described hearing a loud bang, witnessing a hole in the plane’s wall, and experiencing decompression.
A child near the blown-out window was reportedly affected by suction, resulting in a torn shirt. Some passengers also lost their phones, which were sucked out of the aircraft.
As the airline conducts a comprehensive review, attention remains on the ongoing challenges and controversies associated with the Boeing 737 Max.