Boeing 737-9 To Stay Grounded

Daniel Fowkes
08 Jan 2024
· Aircraft 
· Airlines 
Following comments from the Federal Aviatrion Administration the Boeing 737-9 is expected to remain grounded longer than expected as airlines around the world lack clarity over how to conduct key inspections that would allow the Boeing 737-9 to return to service.

The Boeing 737-9 is currently being impacted by the mass groundings following an Emergency Airworthiness Directive by the FAA. Now, they’re set to stay parked longer than expected following further revelations from airlines and the FAA.

New Statement From FAA

A new statement from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) sees their priority as keeping the public safe. The FAA has mandated grounding planes affected by the mid-cabin exit door plugs in response to this.

The FAA further said the planes will remain grounded until they are deemed safe to re-enter service with their respective operators. The EAD, issued one day after the incident involving an Alaska Airlines aircraft came to light, forced several carriers to ground the type.

The primary airline impacted by the newest mandate wasn’t Alaska Airlines, which had already voluntarily grounded the series, but United Airlines, which also extensively fies the 737-9.

Lack Of Understanding On Inspections

Despite a new statement from the Federal Aviation Administration, a substantial amount of criticism comes from it.

This criticism primarily comes from the lack of clarity over these inspections and the waiting game that carriers are being left in as they await developments.

Additionally, mentions of the 737-900ER being a focus have occurred; the -900ER plug doors have been identified as practically the same, but this variant isn’t the focus of any inspections.

Additionally, onlookers say that such a response from the FAA does more harm than good, with the reaction lacking in every regard.

United published further information on how the 737-9 can return to service. Their statement added more information than the primary regulator dealing with the groundings, leaving many shocked.

Currently, there still isn’t an understanding of what caused the mid-cabin exit door to blow out from an Alaska Airlines 737-9.

As a result, airlines that have grounded the type lack a timeline or timeframe to begin the core steps to inspect the aircraft that would lead to approval. Initial expectations from airlines outlined the groundings wouldn’t be for long. However, the lack of clarity has meant many have entered the unknown.

Impacted Airlines Thus Far

Several airlines worldwide have been forced or decided to halt operations with their Boeing 737-9s in direct response to emerging safety concerns and mandates from the FAA.

Within the United States, the two largest customers, Alaska Airlines and United Airlines, have parked the aircraft, awaiting further clarity on the inspection process.

Copa Airlines announced it had also grounded a total of 21 Boeing 737-9s. These 21 units are deemed to have had the mid-cabin exit door plug, which is the subject of the investigation.

Aeromexico grounded its fleet of Boeing 737-9s at the same time as Aeromexico. Per the latest fleet data, 19 units have been affected by the grounding.

Per a spokesperson, Turkish Airlines also grounded their Boeing 737-9 fleet. Data highlights that the airline has five units that have been delivered.

However, despite several significant companies grounding the variant, others aren’t impacted as they do not have the mid-cabin exit door plug. These include Air Tanzania, Corendon Dutch Airlines, flydubai, Icelandair, SCAT Airlines and Lion Air.

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