Alaska Airlines 737-9 MAX Mid-Cabin Exit Door Incident

On January 5th, 2024, an alarming incident occurred on an Alaska Airlines 737-9 MAX as its mid-cabin exit door separated from the aircraft minutes after takeoff from Portland. The flight, bound for Ontario, CA, safely diverted back to Portland with no reported injuries among the 171 passengers and six crew members.

The aircraft, with registration N704AL, reached a maximum altitude of 16,325 feet AMSL before diverting back to Portland and landing at 17:26 local time. It is noteworthy that the flight had completed 145 flights since its delivery from Boeing on October 31, 2023, and was on its third flight of the day.

Following the incident, Alaska Airlines announced the grounding of its 737-9 fleet for inspections. As of January 6th, more than a quarter of the 65 737-9s in the fleet had undergone inspections. Additionally, the FAA issued an Emergency Airworthiness Directive, mandating inspections of all 737-9 aircraft with a mid-aft cabin exit door plug.

This development has raised concerns within the aviation industry, prompting increased scrutiny of the 737-9 MAX fleet. The safety and airworthiness of these aircraft are under heightened focus, with both Alaska Airlines and the FAA taking proactive measures to ensure the integrity of their respective fleets.


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