Boeing 737 MAX – One step forward, two steps back?

At the end of 2023, the Boeing 737 MAX appeared to have turned a corner, regaining the trust of airlines and passengers alike after two high-profile accidents. Then there was the Alaska Airlines incident in January 2024. In the March 2024 issue of Aviation News Mark Broadbent reports the latest developments

At 17:06hrs on January 5, 2024, Alaska Airlines Flight 1282 took off from Portland International Airport, Oregon, on a domestic sector to Ontario International Airport, California. The connection was operated by a Boeing 737 MAX 9, N704AL (c/n 67501), a nearly brand-new aircraft delivered on October 31, 2023.

Approximately six minutes after departure, with the aircraft at around 15,000ft, a door plug on the port fuselage blew out and separated from the airframe, resulting in an uncontrolled decompression. Fortunately, nobody was in seat 26A, immediately next to the gaping hole that appeared in the fuselage.

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