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Forbes
Forbes
6 Jan 2024


Alaska Airlines announced late Friday night that it is temporarily grounding its fleet of 65 Boeing 737-9 aircraft, after part of the fuselage of one of the planes reportedly blew open during a flight from Portland, Oregon to California, prompting an emergency landing.

Oregon Emergency Landing

FILE - Alaska Airlines planes are shown parked at gates at sunrise, March 1, 2021, at Seattle-Tacoma ... [+] International Airport in Seattle. An Alaska Airlines flight made an emergency landing in Oregon on Friday, Jan. 5, 2024, after a window and chunk of its fuselage blew out in mid-air, media reports said. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren, File)

Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

Alaska Airlines Flight 1282 was traveling with 171 guests and six crew members, the airline said, when it experienced what the Federal Aviation Administration described as a “pressurization issue” leading to an emergency landing back at the Portland International Airport around 5 p.m. local time Friday.

Social media video appears to show part of the plane’s fuselage blown open as the plane is in the air.

Alaska Airlines CEO Ben Minicucci said the airline was taking “the precautionary step” of grounding the fleet, and that “each aircraft will be returned to service only after completion of full maintenance and safety inspections.”

The airline is working with Boeing and regulators to better understand how the incident occurred and will support a National Traffic Safety Board investigation, which Minicucci said is ongoing.

In a statement to ABC News, Boeing said the company is aware of the incident and is “working to gather more information” while remaining in contact with the airline.

“My heart goes out to those who were on this flight – I am so sorry for what you experienced,” Minicucci said in a statement. “I am so grateful for the response of our pilots and flight attendants. We have teams on the ground in Portland assisting passengers and are working to support guests who are traveling in the days ahead.”

The incident comes on the heels of news that Boeing had issued a message to all operators of some Boeing 737 MAX airplanes “to look for a possible loose bolt in the rudder control system,” according to the FAA. CNN reported that Friday’s incident is likely unrelated to that issue, but that it still raises questions about Boeing’s quality control in manufacturing. In 2019, two Boeing 737 Max 8 planes were involved in fatal crashes within the span of less than a year—crashes that have increased scrutiny on the plane-maker’s safety processes.