The US Federal Aviation Administration has cleared the Boeing 737 MAX 9 to return to service and Alaska Airlines and United Airlines have now outlined their specific plans to return this aircraft to the skies.
737 MAX 9 Will Return To The Skies On Alaska + United
In the aftermath of the Alaska Airlines Flight 1282 incident, the FAA grounded all 737 MAX 9 aircraft in the United States. Now, the FAA has delineated an inspection plan to return these aircraft to service.
Alaska Airlines, which has 65 MAX 9s in its fleet, expects to return the aircraft to service on Friday, January 26, 2024. It estimates that the inspection process on each aircraft will take 12 hours to complete (inlacing completing paperwork requirements) and includes the following steps:
- Before opening the mid-cabin door plug, we will confirm it was properly installed by ensuring all hardware is in place and all clearances are measured and recorded
- We will then open the door plug and inspect for any damages or abnormalities to the door and seal components, including the guide fittings, roller guides and hinges, and inspect nut plates and fasteners
- We will resecure each door plug and ensure it is sealed properly per approved FAA guidance before the aircraft is returned to service
Alaska Airlines expects all 737 MAX 9 planes to return to service in the next week.
United Airlines shared the following note with employees concerning the return of its 737 MAX 9 aircraft to service, which will begin on Sunday, January 28, 2024.
Toby Enqvist is United’s Chief Operations Officer. His note also confirms that United is voluntarily inspecting the 737-900ER as well, which is the predecessor to the MAX 9, but has operated without issue since its launch in 2007.
The 737 MAX 9 has been cleared to return to service and will take to the skies again for Alaska Airlines as soon as Friday. Comprehensive inspections are ongoing, including consultation with Boeing over both compensation and revised quality control measures to ensure a repeat incident of AS1282 does not ever occur.