Boeing 737 MAX fleet grounded after mid-air blowout

Alaska Airlines grounded their 737 Max 9s after a window blew out at 16,000 feet, and the FAA ordered other carriers to follow suit Saturday.

The emergency airworthiness directive will affect about 171 planes worldwide and applies to U.S. airlines and carriers operating in U.S. territory. No serious injuries were reported aboard Alaska Airlines Flight 1282, according to federal safety officials. The flight returned to Portland, Oregon, shortly after takeoff on Friday after a pressurization issue was reported. Boeing delivered the plane late last year.

Meanwhile, Boeing wants to exempt Max 7s from safety rules.

Since August, earlier models of the MAX currently flying passengers in the U.S. have had to limit use of the jet's engine anti-ice system after Boeing discovered a defect in the system with potentially catastrophic consequences. The flaw could cause the inlet at the front end of the pod surrounding the engine — known as a nacelle — to break and fall off. … In its petition to the FAA, Boeing argues the breakup of the engine nacelle is "extremely improbable" and that an exemption will not reduce safety. "The 737 MAX has been in service since 2017 and has accumulated over 6.5 million flight hours. In that time, there have been no reported cases of parts departing aircraft due to overheating of the engine nacelle inlet structure," the filing states.

The incident was terrifying, but no-one was hurt.

One passenger we talked to at the airport said that a kid had to be held in his seat by his mom and people lost their phones which were sucked out of the plane.

That same child closest to the damaged part of the plane lost his shirt due to the violent and sudden depressurization but otherwise everyone on board appeared to be OK, according to a passenger.

346 people dying in two similar 737 Max crashes in 2019 and 2020 drew a lot of scrutiny to Boeing's lapsed standards and the FAA's lapsed enforcement. I wonder if there's a hidden downside to all those numbers being run, in that the company can now quantify its risk appetite.

Anyway, looks like another good year for Airbus is on the cards.