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What regulators are doing about Boeing 737 MAX 9 jets

The latest setback for Boeing’s top-selling 737 MAX aircraft occurred on Friday when a panel blew off an Alaska Airlines plane forcing its pilots to make an emergency landing.

US regulators have ordered a temporary grounding for safety checks on 171 Boeing 737 MAX 9 jets installed with the same panel, and US authorities are investigating the cause of the incident.

There are about 215 737 MAX 9 jets in service in total, according to aviation analytics firm Cirium.

Five years ago two deadly crashes of Boeing 737 MAX planes triggered a worldwide grounding of all MAX jets.

Here’s what regulators and airlines are doing as a result of the latest incident.

US National Transport Safety Board investigators with the recovered door plug from Alaska Airlines Flight 1282

Regulators

US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA)

The FAA issued a directive on Saturday temporarily grounding certain 737 MAX 9 planes until inspections are performed, affecting 171 aircraft.

US National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB)

The independent U.S. agency has opened an investigation.

Brazil

Brazil’s aviation regulator ANAC said on Sunday the FAA ruling automatically applies to all flights in Brazil.

In Brazil, only Copa Airlines operates the plane, it said.

Canada

Transport Canada on Sunday said there are no Boeing 737 MAX9 planes in use by Canadian operators.

China

China’s regulator has sought details on the incident, a person familiar with the matter said on Saturday.

Bloomberg reported earlier that China, the first country to ground MAX flights in 2019, was considering whether to take action.

NTSB Investigator-in-Charge John Lovell examines the fuselage plug area of Alaska Airlines Flight 1282 Boeing 737-9 MAX

European Union

The European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) adopted the FAA directive, but noted no EU member state airlines operate aircraft with the affected configuration.

India

India’s Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) said yesterday that one-time inspections it had ordered of Boeing 737 MAX 8 aircraft had been performed satisfactorily.

None of the country’s airlines fly the 737 MAX 9 model.

Indonesia

Indonesia grounded three Boeing 737 MAX 9 planes operated by Lion Air on 6 January, a transport ministry spokesperson said.

The spokesperson added that the planes had different configurations from the Alaska Airlines plane.

The ministry will coordinate with the FAA, Boeing and Lion Air to monitor the situation, adding that “operational safety will be our priority”.

UK

The UK Civil Aviation Authority said on Saturday there are no UK-registered planes affected.

It will require any 737 MAX 9 operators entering its airspace to comply with the FAA directive.

United Arab Emirates

The civil aviation said on Sunday that none of its national carriers have planes affected by the order.

Turkey

Turkey’s Directorate General of Civil Aviation yesterday noted the FAA’s actions and said it was coordinating with stakeholders regarding affected aircraft belonging to airlines in Turkey and those using Turkish airspace.

South Korea

South Korea’s transport ministry on Sunday asked five airlines to inspect their 14 Boeing 737 Max 8 aircraft. On Tuesday the ministry said no problems had been detected.

Alaska Airlines and United Airlines operate Boeing 737 Max 9 jets

Airlines

Alaska Airlines

The airline grounded all 65 Boeing 737 MAX 9 planes in its fleet early on Saturday, but later returned 18 to service following earlier maintenance checks on the FAA’s order.

The carrier said it had cancelled 170 flights on Sunday with 60 more flights being cancelled yesterday following the FAA order.

United Airlines

The only other US airline that operates the jets said it temporarily suspended service on all 737 MAX 9 aircraft to run inspections required by the FAA.

Earlier, it had said that of its 79 MAX 9 airplanes, about 33 had been inspected as required by the aviation regulator.

United cancelled 230 flights on Sunday, or 8% of its scheduled departures.

Copa Airlines

The Panamanian carrier said on Saturday it had temporarily grounded 21 737 MAX 9 aircraft and that it “expects to return these aircraft safely and reliably to the flight schedule within the next 24 hours”.

Some delays and cancellations were expected.

As of end-September, the carrier had 26 737 MAX 9 in its fleet in two configurations.

Plastic covers the exterior of the fuselage plug area of Alaska Airlines Flight 1282

Fiji Airways

The Fijian flag carrier said on Monday it was unaffected bythe FAA grounding of Boeing 737 MAX 9 aircraft.

FlyDubai

The airline said on Sunday that its three Boeing 737 MAX 9 planes were not affected.

It operates the aircraft with a deactivated mid-aft exit door configuration, which is not affected by the directive.

Turkish Airlines

The airline said on Sunday it has withdrawn five aircraft from service for inspection.

The planes will be grounded at the first airport they land at.

Aeromexico

The airline said on Sunday it had grounded 19 affected MAX 9 jets for inspection.

Icelandair

Icelandair said yesterday it is not affected by the FAA grounding of Boeing 737 MAX 9 aircraft.

“It has been confirmed that the issue is related to equipment that is not a part of Icelandair’s Boeing 737 MAX 9 configuration,” said a spokesperson for the airline, which operates four of the aircraft.


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