UAE airline 'unaffected' as US grounds 170 Boeing planes after blowout

Alaska Airlines has grounded its fleet of 737 MAX 9 aircraft after an emergency landing due to a blowout

by

Waheed Abbas

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Published: Sat 6 Jan 2024, 6:08 PM

Last updated: Thu 11 Jan 2024, 9:12 AM

UAE budget airline flydubai on Sunday said its Boeing 737 MAX 9 aircraft were not affected after the US aviation regulator issued an emergency airworthiness directive.

On Saturday, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) temporarily grounded 171 Boeing 737 MAX 9 jetliners for safety checks following a cabin panel blowout that forced a new Alaska Airlines jet carrying passengers to make an emergency landing. The plane was in service for eight weeks.

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The Dubai carrier said it is operating 737 MAX 9 planes, which were not referred to in the FAA directive.

"Following The Emergency Airworthiness Directive (EAD) issued by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) on January 6, 2024, we can confirm that the three Boeing 737 MAX 9 aircraft in our fleet are not affected. Flydubai operates Boeing 737 MAX 9 aircraft with a deactivated mid-aft exit door configuration, which is not referenced in the directive," a flydubai spokesperson said in a statement to Khaleej Times on Sunday.

Scheduled flights globally in January 2024 on the MAX 9 prior to Alaska Airlines announcement:

AirlineFlights
United Airlines7,951
Alaska Airlines5,082
Copa2,603
Aeromexico2,437
Turkish Airlines654
Icelandair414
Flydubai342
AirCompany46
Total19,529

Source: Cirium

On December 28, the US planemaker Boeing asked airlines to inspect MAX 737 aeroplanes for a possible loose bolt in the rudder control system after an international operator discovered a bolt with a missing nut while performing routine maintenance on a mechanism in the rudder-control linkage. Boeing discovered an additional undelivered aircraft with a nut not properly tightened.

Flydubai operates 29 Boeing 737-800 aircraft, including three MAX 9. Thirteen Boeing 737 MAX aircraft joined its fleet last year.

The Dubai-based carrier placed its first wide-body order for 30 Boeing 787-9s at the Dubai Airshow, diversifying its current fleet of all-Boeing 737 aircraft.

Earlier, the Dubai carrier said that it had completed C-checks on the aircraft in the last 24 months.

In aviation, C-checks are part of "heavy maintenance, " which usually happens between 18 months and 2 years. This inspection is usually carried out at a special facility, spanning up to 2 weeks.

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