The FAA has kept all 737 Max 9 planes in the US grounded for an extensive and rigorous inspection process. Boeing has instructed airlines to inspect and recertify each aircraft, and the FAA will review those inspections. The agency’s priority is to ensure that aircraft return to service is safe for passengers.
The FAA took decisive action on January 6 and grounded about 171 Boeing 737-9 MAX 9 planes after an Alaska Airlines flight lost its mid-cabin door plug-in flight. The FAA said it would only allow the aircraft to return to service once the National Transportation Safety Board could verify their software.
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Boeing’s instructions for the inspection process have been revised based on feedback, and it will conduct a thorough review of those instructions. However, the timeline for reintroducing the planes to service is impacted by the fact that there are still more than 100 uninspected aircraft in the United States and that operators must complete all enhanced inspection requirements.
It’s also important to remember that the FAA will continue to support the National Transportation Safety Board investigation into the two fatal Boeing 737 MAX crashes. The NTSB may discover additional plane problems requiring extensive or urgent maintenance.
The grounding of the Boeing 737 MAX planes has been costly for the companies involved. The cheapest tickets are being sold out for the next few weeks, and airlines like Alaska and United offer full refunds to passengers booked on nonrefundable flights through January 20. The delay in getting the planes back into operation has disrupted airline schedules. Experts recommend reserving your ticket through another airline for travelers still hoping to fly on a 737 MAX.