The FAA has ordered the temporary grounding of certain Boeing 737 MAX 9 aircraft operated by US airlines or in US territory after an incident involving an Alaska Airlines plane.

“The FAA is requiring immediate inspections of certain Boeing 737 MAX 9 planes before they can return to flight,” FAA Administrator Mike Whitaker said. “Safety will continue to drive our decision-making as we assist the NTSB’s investigation into Alaska Airlines Flight 1282.”

The Emergency Airworthiness Directive (EAD) requires operators to inspect affected aircraft before further flight. The required inspections will take around four to eight hours per aircraft.

The EAD will affect approximately 171 planes worldwide.

It came after Flight 1282 from Portland, Oregon to Ontario, California, experienced an incident soon after departure when the aircraft lost a window panel.

The aircraft with 171 passengers and 6 crew members on board landed safely back at Portland International Airport.

In a statement, Alaska Airlines CEO Ben Minicucci said: “At Alaska Airlines, safety is our foundational value and the most important thing we focus on every day.

“Following tonight’s event on Flight 1282, we have decided to take the precautionary step of temporarily grounding our fleet of 65 Boeing 737-9 aircraft.

“Each aircraft will be returned to service only after completion of full maintenance and safety inspections. We anticipate all inspections will be completed in the next few days.

“I am personally committed to doing everything we can to conduct this review in a timely and transparent way.

“We are working with Boeing and regulators to understand what occurred tonight, and will share updates as more information is available. The NTSB is investigating this event and we will fully support their investigation.

“My heart goes out to those who were on this flight – I am so sorry for what you experienced. 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.”

Boeing said: “We are aware of the incident involving Alaska Airlines Flight #AS1282. We are working to gather more information and are in contact with our airline customer. A Boeing technical team stands ready to support the investigation.”
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