Alaska Airlines extends cancellation of Boeing 737 Max 9 flights

Alaska Airlines has extended cancellations of flights on its Boeing 737 Max 9 jetliners as it continues to wait for a formal inspection of the planes.

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On Wednesday, Alaska said it was canceling flights on its Max 9s as it waits for documentation from Boeing and the Federal Aviation Administration.

“We have made the decision to cancel all flights on 737-9 MAX aircraft through Sunday, Jan. 14, while we conduct inspections and prepare fully for return to service,” the airline said in a statement Friday. “This equates to between 110-150 flights per day.”

Alaska officials added that they are “working around the clock to reaccommodate impacted guests on other flights.”

“We hope this action provides guests with a little more certainty,” the airline said.

The flight cancellations come after the FAA grounded Boeing 737 Max 9 jetliners pending inspections. There are just over 170 of the planes in use by Alaska and United Airlines.

The planes were grounded after a panel blew off one of the planes midflight last week. Alaska Airlines Flight 1282 was forced to return to Oregon’s Portland International Airport for an emergency landing on Friday, as it was carrying 171 passengers and six crew members.

The incident left a gaping hole in the side of the plane’s fuselage. No serious injuries were reported.

“We regret the significant disruption that has been caused for our guests by cancellations due to these aircraft being out of service,” Alaska said on Friday. “However, the safety of our employees and guests is our highest priority and we will only return these aircraft to service when all findings have been fully resolved and meet all FAA and Alaska’s stringent standards.”

It remained unclear Friday what caused last week’s incident. On Monday, United Airlines said it found loose bolts while inspecting its Max 9 fleet. Alaska Airlines has also said it found loose parts during informal inspections, Reuters reported.

The National Transportation Safety Board and the FAA are investigating.

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