Alaska Airlines Finds Loose Hardware On 737-9s

Daniel Fowkes
09 Jan 2024
· Aircraft 
· Airlines 
Alaska Airlines has found loose hardware on some of its grounded Boeing 737-9s following inspections, making it the second airline to do so.

Alaska Airlines has reported that its technicians have found some loose hardware that has been visible on some of its Boeing 737-9s.

Specifics around the number of units identified to have loose hardware following initial inspections have not been publicly disclosed.

For Alaska Airlines, they say that while they await final documentation from the FAA and Boeing to begin formal inspections, they have been glossing over the aircraft.

As a result of these initial inspections done by technicians, loose hardware was found in what is being described as another bad look for Boeing and associated suppliers that have already been in the spotlight over the past week.

The Process At Alaska Airlines

Alaska Airlines says that only when they’re permitted to proceed with the formal inspections they’ll go over all critical areas per instructions provided by the Federal Aviation Administration.

The company further notes that if any findings come to light, they’ll be dealt with appropriately, with all significance placed on ensuring the aircraft is safe to return to service.

Inspections for Alaska Airlines will require documenting every finding with those collected and reported by the FAA. The carrier ended its latest statement by confirming that the safety of the aircraft is its number one priority.

United Reports Similar Findings

Reports of Alaska Airlines finding loose hardware on some 737-9s that are grounded come hours after United Airlines reported similar.

Initially broken by a reputable source, The Air Current, this publication indicates that up to five 737-9s have been found to have loose bolts in the inspected area thus far. This figure is per a source, but the airline did not confirm the number.

United Airlines has confirmed it has found loose bolts on several Boeing 737-9s that are grounded following inspections of the grounded aircraft. A total of 79 Boeing 737-9s with United Airlines remain parked as the airline battles with airworthiness directives and safety concerns.
Photo credit: Greg Gayden

United Airlines flies 79 Boeing 737-9s, with the entire fleet grounded following the major Alaska Airlines incident just days prior.

Two major airlines have reported similar occurrences following initial inspection, proving that the problem is hardly isolated and more widespread than initially thought.

How Widespread?

Warranted question marks have emerged over how widespread these loose bolts and hardware truly are. The plug door exits have been the topic of conversation and focus; however, if all it took was an incident to identify further issues, onlookers question if there’s more than meets the eye.

Several impacted aircraft were delivered only recently to Alaska Airlines and United Airlines. As a result, the practices of the American plane maker in an era where the company attempted to change its culture and ways following the significant incidents of the late 2010s have been questioned.

An ongoing investigation launched by the NTSB with support from Boeing and relevant parties will provide further details about what was transcribed on Alaska Airlines Flight 1282 in due course.

The Boeing 737-9s that an EAD has mandated to receive inspections remain grounded. This primarily impacts several companies worldwide, but none more than Alaska and United Airlines, the largest operators of the variant globally. These two airlines rely on the variant for services across their expansive route network.

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