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An Insight into Alaska Airlines’ Inspection Procedure as Boeing 737 Max 9 Planes Resume Service

An Insight into Alaska Airlines' Inspection Procedure as Boeing 737 Max 9 Planes Resume Service
Credits: Oregon Live

Following an incident where a door panel detached mid-flight from one of its Boeing 737 Max 9 jets, Alaska Airlines has initiated the return of some planes to service after thorough inspections.

Exclusive footage shared with “CBS Mornings” provides an in-depth view of the meticulous process as mechanics scrutinize the door panels and the integrity of the bolts securing them.

Simultaneously, investigations by the National Transportation Safety Board and the Federal Aviation Administration into the mid-air incident on Alaska Airlines flight 1282 are ongoing.

Alaska Airlines took a proactive approach, grounding its 65 Max 9 planes voluntarily before the FAA issued a temporary grounding order for Boeing’s 737 Max 9 model.

An Insight into Alaska Airlines' Inspection Procedure as Boeing 737 Max 9 Planes Resume Service

Boeing 737 Max 9 Planes Resume Service (Credits: KCRW)

The grounding followed a blowout during a flight from Oregon to California, leading to the detachment of a door on January 5. According to the FAA, the emergency landing in Portland triggered immediate inspections of certain Boeing 737 Max 9 planes.

Inspectors at a maintenance facility in Seattle are diligently examining the effectiveness of door plugs on Alaska Airlines’ Boeing 737 Max 9 planes.

The comprehensive inspection process for a single-door panel spans approximately 12 hours, involving the removal of two rows of seats and the entire cabin interior for access. Mechanics meticulously check the secure placement and proper functioning of four crucial bolts lining the door panel.

A detailed assessment comprising 20 pages of measurements is conducted post-initial inspection before deeming the plug safe and reinstating the airplane into service.

Jason Lai, the managing director of engineering at Alaska Airlines, expressed confidence in the safety of the inspected planes, asserting that the team has detected some loose bolts during examinations. While more loose bolts than desired were found, no instances of missing bolts from the panels were reported.

Investigators are diligently working to ascertain whether the crucial bolts were in place when the door panel incident occurred on Alaska Airlines flight 1282.

Despite ongoing investigations, both Alaska Airlines and United have commenced returning Boeing 737 Max 9 jets to service after receiving clearance. Alaska Airlines, resuming service cautiously, plans to reintegrate up to 10 planes daily as inspections are finalized.

The airline’s network operations center closely monitors the inspection efforts, aiming to conclude the process within the week. Captain Bret Peyton, the managing director of network operations at Alaska Airlines, emphasized the deliberate and cautious approach taken to ensure a safe and compliant return to operation.

The priority remains on completing thorough safety checks before resuming full-fledged service with the Boeing 737 Max 9 fleet.

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