An Alaska Airlines Boeing 737 MAX operating with service from Portland to Ontario suffered a significant decompression as the rear mid-cabin exit door separated from the aircraft.
Word of the incident first came to light following a post on Reddit surfacing from a user in the aviation subreddit. That same user said the seat next to the blowout wasn’t occupied, but the sound was as ferocious as expected.
The Alaska Airlines incident occurred only briefly after the plane departed from Portland.
Data indicates that the specific variant impacted was the Boeing 737-9 with a registration of N704AL. This aircraft was only delivered to Alaska Airlines a handful of months ago.
Flightradar24 data highlights that the 737-9 reached a maximum altitude of 16,000 feet before being forced to return to Portland.
Alaska Airlines published a statement saying that they were aware of the incident aboard flight AS1282 to Ontario and that when more information came to light, they would post this.
The Federal Aviation Administration (FFA) says they know about the incident, which saw the 737 MAX touchdown safely into Portland at 5 pm local time. Now, an investigation will take place.
As part of this investigation, they will cooperate directly with Boeing, suppliers, Alaska Airlines and the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB).
All those onboard the aircraft could disembark the 737 MAX safely upon landing in Portland.
Images and video from those onboard showcase the scale of the damage and the evidence of how perfectly the section of the aircraft came undone.
Interestingly, several statements highlight this as a mere pressurisation issue. However, the general public has hit back at this, saying it is quite the downplaying.
As cited by Jon Ostrower from The Air Current, the photo indicates this is the mid-aft door completely torn off. It’s a door that passengers will often not be aware of, thanks to it being deactivated before delivery.
Most Boeing 737-9s currently in service are in North America, specifically the United States. Alaska Airlines already flies 65 of the type with a high reliance on the aircraft for operations.
Meanwhile, United Airlines has 79 737-9s in service. As for other operators, Copa Airlines and Aeromexico represent the two other largest operators of the series thus far.