Monday, February 26, 2024

“Boeing 737 Max” Gives World's Skies a Headache (Timeline)


Istanbul / Anatolia

The announcements by international airlines did not stop Boeing 737 MAX planes from flying until further notice, starting on Jan. 5, when the left rear wing of the same type of Alaska Airlines plane exploded, with 171 people on board.

Fortunately for Boeing, no passengers were hurt when the rear of the plane exploded 20 minutes after takeoff on a domestic flight from Portland, USA to Ontario, California.

After the incident, airlines in Asia, Europe and the United States quickly grounded their planes using the model, which is considered highly profitable for Boeing and a “cash cow” for the company's financial returns.

Airlines in the U.S. and Europe, along with Turkish Airlines and Chinese companies, have called for the model to be “grounded,” meaning airport runways are kept empty of flights until further notice.

For Boeing, which has struggled in recent years with production defects and costly repairs, the decision to ground the planes by the growing global airline represents a major setback.

After the Alaska Airlines incident, shares of Boeing fell from $248 to $225 a share at the end of Tuesday's session, according to Wall Street's stock data.

As a result, the company's market value fell by more than $13 billion from the start of last Friday's session to $134 billion at the end of Tuesday's session.

In this report, Anatolia reviews the most significant failures and accidents caused by the Boeing 737 MAX, which officially entered service in 2017:

** 2024

On January 5, Alaska Airlines grounded all of its Boeing 737 Max 9s, hours after the rear of the plane exploded, dislodging one of the plane's emergency door plugs and forcing it to make an emergency landing.

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The plane, carrying 171 passengers and 6 crew members, returned safely to Portland, Oregon, USA without any injuries.

That same day, Boeing CEO Dave Calhoun acknowledged his giant airline's responsibility for the Alaska Airlines crash, promising “full transparency” in the file.

Hours after the crash, US carrier United Airlines revealed during a preliminary inspection of the canceled emergency exits on its Boeing 737 MAX 9 plane that several screws were not properly tightened.

** 2023

Last December, Boeing advised its customers to inspect its 737 MAX aircraft for a loose screw.

The story began after routine maintenance at one of the international airlines, which discovered a missing nut on the screws connecting the rudder control system during flight.

When the rear of the Alaska Airlines plane exploded, there was no official announcement from the company about the nut, due to development in the model.

** 2019

In March 2019, aviation authorities and industry bodies in most parts of the world announced that Boeing 737 MAX planes must be grounded after two such accidents, and the ban will continue until the end of 2021.

On March 10, 2019, an Ethiopian Airlines 737 Max crashed minutes after takeoff from Addis Ababa to the Kenyan capital Nairobi with 149 passengers on board, all of whom died.

** 2018

In October 2018, a Lion Air flight of the same type crashed into the sea near Indonesia, carrying around 190 people, none of whom survived, according to local authorities.

Investigators said at the time that Lion Air pilots appeared to struggle with an automatic system designed to prevent the plane from stalling, a new feature for the Boeing 737 MAX model.

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The results of the investigation indicated that the anti-stall system caused the aircraft to nose down, despite attempts by the pilots to correct this.

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Rolf Colon
Rolf Colon
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