Alaska Airlines finds loose hardware during 737 MAX 9 inspections

A service ladder at the aft cabin door recess of Alaska Airlines Boeing 737 MAX 9
Photo Credit: NTSB

Following yesterday’s disclosures by United Airlines regarding the discovery of loose hardware during inspections of grounded Boeing 737 MAX 9 aircraft, Alaska Airlines has similarly reported findings of loose hardware during their maintenance actions.

Inspections of the subject aircraft have continued since the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) issued an emergency Airworthiness Directive (AD) temporary grounding for affected aircraft, after an aft cabin door plug assembly detached in flight resulting in an explosive decompression.

In the latest progress update, Alaska airlines has confirmed that it has subsequently detected items of loose hardware during the course of the ongoing inspections.

In the statement, the airline advised: “As our maintenance technicians began preparing our 737-9 MAX fleet for inspections, they accessed the area in question. Initial reports from our technicians indicate some loose hardware was visible on some aircraft.”  

Yesterday, United Airlines confirmed that they had discovered installation issues with the door plugs, citing “bolts that needed additional tightening.”

NTSB Latest Update


The NTSB has continued its investigation into the causes of the Alaska Airlines flight 1282 incident on January 5, 2023.

In today’s press briefing, NTSB Chair Jennifer Homendy, provided further information with regards to the issue of the flight deck door opening during the subsequent in-flight decompression.

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It was noted that the flight deck door was designed to open during conditions of rapid decompression; however, the Alaska Airlines flight crew had not been informed of this.

As a consequence, Jennifer Homendy stated that Boeing will make changes to the aircraft manual, which should then translate into procedures being developed by the airline for such a contingency.

An NTSB officer inspects damaged Alaska Airlines Boeing 737 MAX 9 interior.
Photo Credit: NTSB

Boeing Communication with Operators


Boeing released a statement confirming their ongoing communication with operators as inspections proceed, saying: “As operators conduct the required inspections, we are staying in close contact with them and will help address any and all findings.”

“We are committed to ensuring every Boeing airplane meets design specifications and the highest safety and quality standards. We regret the impact this has had on our customers and their passengers.”

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Alaska Airlines has reported the finding of loose hardware during their ongoing inspections of Boeing 737 MAX 9 aircraft affected by the FAA grounding.
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