Airlines United and Alaska discover unsecured fasteners on Boeing 737 Max 9 aircraft.

Inspections are ongoing following a plane blowout over the weekend, and Alaska Airlines has stated that “some loose hardware was visible on some aircraft.” This comes after Alaska Airlines and United discovered loose parts on multiple 737 Max 9 aircraft, which refers to the Boeing model that was grounded after a panel blew off an Alaska Airlines-operated plane mid-flight.

The industry publication Air Current reported that United found discrepant bolts on other parts during inspections following the accident. The US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and Boeing have not commented on this matter.

In a statement, United said, “Since we began preliminary inspections on Saturday, we have found instances that appear to relate to installation issues in the door plug. For example, bolts that needed additional tightening. These findings will be remedied by our tech ops team to safely return the aircraft to service.”

A cabin panel on a brand-new Alaska Airlines 737 Max had blown out at 16,000ft on Friday, resulting in an emergency landing after takeoff from Portland, Oregon. Fortunately, there were no serious injuries reported. A chunk of the fuselage, weighing 63lb (28.5kg), was later discovered in an Oregon teacher’s backyard.

On Monday evening, Alaska Airlines released a statement indicating that issues were found during the inspection of their 737 Max 9 fleet. The statement mentioned, “Initial reports from our technicians indicate some loose hardware was visible on some aircraft.”

The Boeing jetliner involved in the in-flight blowout was not used for flights to Hawaii after a warning light, potentially indicating a pressurization problem, illuminated on three different flights.

Boeing and US regulators have authorized the inspection of grounded jets on Monday. The inspections, which will involve 171 Max planes mostly operated by US carriers Alaska and United Airlines, may take several days and have resulted in numerous flight cancellations.

Boeing stated that they are maintaining close contact with Max 9 operators and will assist customers with any findings during inspections. They emphasized their commitment to ensuring that every Boeing airplane meets design specifications, safety standards, and quality standards. Boeing expressed regret for the impact this incident has had on their customers and their passengers.

Boeing shares experienced an 8% decline on Monday and continued to fall during pre-market trading on Tuesday. This comes as the company deals with the consequences of the unexpected panel emergency. It is another setback for Boeing following a series of production delays that have hindered their recovery from the lengthy 737 Max safety grounding in 2019.

The FAA issued a temporary grounding order for the 171 Max 9 jets equipped with the 60lb (27kg) panel that detached from a full Alaska Airlines flight.

Boeing CEO Dave Calhoun scheduled a company-wide webcast with employees and senior leadership for Tuesday to discuss the incident. In a message to employees on Sunday, Calhoun wrote, “When serious accidents like this occur, it is critical for us to work transparently with our customers and regulators to understand and address the causes of the event, and to ensure they don’t happen again. This is and must be the focus of our team right now.”

Reuters and Associated Press contributed to this report

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