US FAA allows Boeing 737 MAX flights, bans further production

The US aviation regulator has 737 MAX 9 can start flying again after a mid-air cabin blowout raised safety concerns. However, it also told Boeing to put the plane's production on hold

The FAA ordered the temporary grounding of Boeing 737 MAX 9 aircraft after part of a fuselage blew out (photo: DW)
The FAA ordered the temporary grounding of Boeing 737 MAX 9 aircraft after part of a fuselage blew out (photo: DW)
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The US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has increased pressure on plane maker Boeing, banning further production of its best-selling 737 MAX narrowbody planes.

However, the FAA did agree to allow the 737 MAX 9 — grounded after a mid-air blowout — to start flying again after inspections.

What the air regulator said

FAA head Mike Whitaker said his agency's review of a fuselage blowout on an Alaska Airlines Boeing jet had given him the confidence to allow the planes to fly again.

However, Whitaker said the FAA would not agree to any request to expand production of Max planes until Boeing addressed quality-control concerns.

"This won't be back to business as usual for Boeing," Whitaker said.

The production brake only applies to the Max, which currently has two models, the 8 and the 9. The aviation giant builds about 30 of the planes each month, although it has been seeking to raise production.

What the plane maker said

Boeing said it would work with partners to get the grounded planes back in the air.

"We will continue to cooperate fully and transparently with the FAA and follow their direction as we take action to strengthen safety and quality at Boeing," the company said. "We will also work closely with our airline customers as they complete the required inspection procedures to safely return their 737-9 airplanes to service."

A fuselage panel known as a door plug blew off the Alaska Airlines Max 9 as it was flying 16,000 feet (about 4,900 meters) above Oregon on January 5, leaving a hole in the side of the plane.

The pilots were able to return to Portland, from where the plane had been due to fly to southern California, and land safely.

More to come...

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Published: 25 Jan 2024, 1:39 PM
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