Boeing 737 Max 9 jets will be grounded 'indefinitely', US aviation regulator says

The grounding of this particular model follows an incident where a door panel blew out of an Alaska air flight after taking off from Portland, Olivia Guthrie reports

Boeing 737 Max 9 jets will be grounded "indefinitely" after side door blew off Alaska Airlines plane, the US aviation regulator said.

In a press release published on Saturday, the administrator for the Federal Aviation Authority, Mike Whitaker said: "We are working to make sure nothing like this happens again.

“Our only concern is the safety of American travelers and the Boeing 737-9 MAX will not return to the skies until we are entirely satisfied it is safe."

The regulator said it needed additional data before approving the jets and that it is requiring plug-door inspections of 40 of its aircraft. 

His comments come after an Alaska Airlines plane suffered a blowout that left a gaping hole in the side of the fuselage earlier this month.

The plane lost a section of its fuselage just after takeoff, allowing fierce winds at some 16,000 feet to blow into the passenger cabin, and forcing it to make an emergency landing.

No one was seriously injured, but the incident has spooked airlines and authorities, who ordered dozens of 737-Boeing Max aircraft in the US to stay grounded.

Shortly after the incident, United Airlines said it had found loose bolts and other problems on a key part of its grounded Boeing 737 Max 9 jetliners.

The aircraft has been scrutinized for years after two deadly, high-profile crashes — one in 2018 and the other in 2019.

Alaska Airlines did not immediately respond to ITV News' request for comment

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