Breaking: United Finds Loose Bolts on Boeing 737 MAX 9 Aircraft Plug Doors

United Airlines, one of the world’s largest operators of the Boeing 737 MAX 9, has recently discovered several loose bolts in the door plug installations on some of its aircraft. This revelation comes in the wake of a serious incident involving an Alaska Airlines 737 MAX 9, where an emergency exit door plug was blown out mid-flight, leading to the grounding of the aircraft model by the FAA and other global aviation authorities.

Photo via Edward Russell on X

In response to the FAA’s grounding and subsequent directive for immediate inspections, United Airlines proactively began examining its fleet of 79 Boeing 737 MAX 9 aircraft. The inspection process, involving a team of skilled technicians, entailed meticulous checks of the door plug installations, including the removal of interior panels and seats, and a thorough examination of the door frame hardware and seals. Despite not receiving official clearance from the FAA to resume operations, United Airlines’ early inspections have already uncovered installation anomalies, including inadequately tightened bolts, which the airline has committed to rectifying.

READ ALSO: An iPhone falls 16,000 feet from the Alaska Airlines flight, and guess what? Still works!

The door plug issue has had significant ramifications globally, with the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) and India’s Aviation Authority following the FAA’s lead in grounding the 737 MAX 9 fleet and demanding inspections. The discovery of these installation flaws has raised questions about the safety and reliability of this aircraft variant, spurring regulatory bodies worldwide to take swift action to ensure passenger safety.

The origins of this widespread concern can be traced back to the January 5 incident involving Alaska Airlines flight N704AL. This aircraft had reportedly experienced auto pressurization failure multiple times in the month preceding the emergency, leading to restrictions on its operational range. The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) has since recovered the blown-off door plug and is conducting a thorough investigation, examining various components to determine the root cause of the incident.

Boeing’s Response:

Boeing on the loose bolts being found by United Airlines:
“We are committed to ensuring every Boeing airplane meets design specifications and the highest safety and quality standards. We regret the impact this has had on our customers and their passengers.”

Featured image by Misael Ocasio Hernandez

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