United Airlines said Monday that it has discovered loose bolts on its Boeing 737 MAX 9 aircraft, prompting an immediate suspension of the model’s operations. This development follows a recent incident involving an Alaska Airlines Boeing 737 MAX 9, where a door plug was lost mid-air.
In a statement released to FOX Business, United Airlines detailed its decision to halt the use of its Boeing 737 MAX 9 planes. The airline has also canceled approximately 200 flights operated by this model. 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,” United Airlines stated. The airline’s technical operations team is currently addressing these issues to ensure the aircraft can safely return to service.
United Airlines is awaiting final approval from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) regarding the inspection process of the aircraft.
Impact on Boeing and Spirit Aerosystems' Stock Following Mid-Air Incident
The situation arises in the wake of an emergency landing by Alaska Air Flight 1282 last Friday. The flight, en route from Portland, Oregon, to Ontario, California, was forced to return to Portland International Airport after experiencing cabin depressurization due to a door plug detachment at an altitude of approximately 16,000 feet. The incident resulted in a significant drop in the stock values of Boeing and Spirit Aerosystems. Fortunately, none of the 171 passengers aboard the Alaska Airlines flight sustained serious injuries.
In response to these incidents, the FAA issued a directive on Saturday for airlines globally to conduct safety inspections on their Boeing 737 MAX 9 aircraft. Currently, Alaska Airlines and United Airlines are the only U.S. carriers operating this model.
Boeing's Assurance of Meeting Highest Safety and Quality Standards
Boeing, in a statement to FOX Business, emphasized its commitment to safety. “As operators conduct the required inspections, we are staying in close contact with them and will help address any and all findings,” the company said. “We are committed to ensuring every Boeing airplane meets design specifications and the highest safety and quality standards.”
“We regret the impact this has had on our customers and their passengers,” Boeing added in its statement, acknowledging the inconvenience caused by these developments.