Friday, June 21, 2024

Aeroméxico grounds 19 Boeing planes following FAA order

Aeroméxico has canceled or delayed over 100 flights while it inspects its fleet of 19 Boeing 737 Max-9 planes, after an Alaska Airlines plane of the same model suffered a dangerous blowout in the United States on Friday.

Aeroméxico decided to ground its Max-9 fleet on Saturday, following an order by the United States Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to conduct immediate safety reviews on all Max-9 planes operated by U.S. airlines or on U.S. soil.

Aeroméxico has canceled or delayed over 100 flights scheduled to leave from Mexico City International Airport on Boeing 737 Max-9 planes. (Andrea Murcia/Cuartoscuro)

As of Sunday evening, Aeroméxico had canceled 13 flights on Saturday and 58 flights on Sunday, and delayed another 18, according to the newspaper Reforma. It expects to cancel another 17 on Monday.

Routes affected by the cancellations include flights between Mexico City International Airport (AICM) and San Francisco, Miami, Chicago, Las Vegas, Tijuana, Cancún, Chihuahua, Puerto Vallarta, Monterrey, Los Cabos, Mérida, Hermosillo and Miami. Delayed routes include those between the AICM and Tijuana, Zacatecas, Orlando, Madrid and New York.

Sources from the Mexican airline told Milenio newspaper that the number of passengers affected represents only 5% of the total expected to fly during those three days.

“The inspection of our Max-9 fleet will be concluded as soon as possible to continue with scheduled operations and we will continue to work in coordination with Boeing, as well as with the relevant authorities,” Aeroméxico said in a statement on Saturday.

Footage from inside the aircraft showed a gaping hole where the plug had separated from the fuselage. (Affectionate-Taro470/Reddit)

Alaska Airlines flight 1282 was forced to make an emergency landing in Portland, Oregon, on Friday evening, after a panel blew out shortly after takeoff, depressurizing the cabin and leaving a gaping hole in the fuselage.

The Max-9 jetliner’s 171 passengers and six crew members donned oxygen masks as the pilots returned the plane safely to Portland, around 20 minutes after departure. Nobody was seriously hurt, thanks to the fact that the plane had not yet reached cruising altitude and nobody was walking around the cabin.

Alaska Airlines immediately grounded its fleet of 65 Max-9 jets for safety reviews. In a statement over the weekend, the U.S. airline said that it had so far inspected the panels on 18 jets and cleared them to return to service, and expected to complete inspections over the coming days.

Around 171 aircraft worldwide are believed to require similar reviews, which take around four to eight hours per aircraft.

Early on Monday, a Portland schoolteacher named Bob alerted the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) that he had found the missing door plug in his yard. Board authorities will examine the detached piece of the plane to better understand what caused the accident.

With reports from Associated Press, Reforma and Milenio

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