US government officials emphasize that they will not hastily approve the return to service of grounded Boeing 737 Max 9 planes following a mid-air blowout incident. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg asserts that the aircraft must be deemed “100% safe” before resuming operations. Boeing’s CEO, Dave Calhoun, characterizes the event as a “quality escape,” indicating a failure in quality control for the plane, which had only been in service for eight weeks before the incident. Calhoun raises concerns about breakdowns in inspections and original work, questioning how the escape occurred.

In response to the incident, the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has grounded 171 Boeing jets equipped with the same door plug that caused the blowout. This door plug is a fuselage piece with a window, filling the space where an emergency exit would be in specific configurations. Buttigieg refrains from specifying when the suspension will be lifted, emphasizing that safety considerations dictate the timeline.

Alaska Airlines and United Airlines, the two US operators of the 737 MAX 9, face flight cancellations and operational challenges. Alaska Airlines cancels approximately 20% of its flights due to the grounding of 65 Max 9s, while United Airlines, with 79 grounded planes, anticipates “significant” cancellations. Both airlines highlight the need for revised inspection and maintenance instructions from Boeing, subject to FAA approval, before they can resume Max 9 flights. Loose parts have been discovered on some grounded aircraft, with United reporting bolts requiring “additional tightening” during inspections of the door plug involved in the Alaska Airlines incident. National Transportation Safety Board chair Jennifer Homendy suggests the possibility that the bolts were missing initially or came off during the descent.

Quest: Emmanuel kelvin

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