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US transportation head says no grounded Boeing 737 Max 9 planes will return to air ‘until it is safe’

Author: Editors Desk Source: The Guardian
January 10, 2024 at 19:11
In this handout photo, the fuselage plug area of Alaska Airlines flight 1282 is seen on 7 January 2024. Photograph: NTSB/Reuters
In this handout photo, the fuselage plug area of Alaska Airlines flight 1282 is seen on 7 January 2024. Photograph: NTSB/Reuters

Pete Buttigieg says no timeline for return of aircraft as Alaska Airlines announces cancellation of 110-150 flights each day

The US transportation secretary announced on Wednesday afternoon that no grounded Boeing 737 Max 9 would return to service “until it is safe”, after Alaska Airlines announced the cancellation of all flights on its 737 Max 9 planes at the direction of the Federal Aviation Administration.

Pete Buttigieg said he was “not putting a timeline” on when the FAA will allow the planes to resume flights.

Every plane that the US aircraft manufacturer delivers “needs to be 100% safe”, Buttigieg added.

He said he has spoken to the head of Boeing and told him the company needs to do everything it can to establish 100% confidence in its planes.

The Boeing CEO, Dave Calhoun, on Tuesday acknowledged “our mistake”, after a cabin panel of a 737 Max 9 jet blew off during an Alaska Airlines flight last week.

Earlier on Wednesday, Alaska Airlines calculated that its latest cancellations will equate to about 110-150 flights each day.

News of the mass flight cancellations came after a video widely circulated online showed a hole in Alaska Airlines flight 1282 where a door panel had dramatically detached and fell off mid-flight between Portland, Oregon, and Ontario, California. The plane was a 737 Max 9.

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