Boeing is again suffering from problems with its aircraft on the stock market. Shares of the American manufacturer opened lower on Wall Street this Monday after aviation authorities decided to ground the vast majority of 737 Max 9 aircraft following last Friday's incident in Oregon. An Alaska Airlines flight was forced to make an emergency landing after a portion of the fuselage — the gap reserved for a security door in other configurations — came loose mid-flight. Boeing shares started with a loss of 8.5%, which corresponds to a loss in value of around 13 billion dollars (around 12 billion euros).
But the biggest drop is at Wichita, Kansas-based Spirit AeroSystems, the manufacturer of the panel detached from the fuselage. Its shares suffered a nearly 15% decline in early trading. Alaska Airlines, which has 65 737 MAX 9 aircraft, also opened lower, down 5%.
Meanwhile, investigators are trying to figure out what defect caused the panel that covered the hole reserved for a security door to come loose. The plaque appeared in the courtyard of a professor's home in Portland on Sunday afternoon and experts analyzed it along with the plane to draw conclusions. Before the professor found the severed part, numerous citizens had followed the trail in search of the plane. Search workers found two cellphones that appeared to belong to passengers on Friday's flight, one in a yard and one on the side of the road. Both were handed over to the authorities to be returned to their owners.
For now, authorities announced that Alaska Airlines had decided to limit the use of the plane that had the problem and no longer use it on flights to Hawaii after a warning light that could have indicated a pressure problem came on on three different flights can. The company has stopped using it on long flights over water so that the plane can “return to an airport very quickly” if necessary, Jennifer Homendy, chairwoman of the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), said at a Sunday press conference.
Although it is not confirmed that the pressure indicator is related to Friday's incident, the warning went off on three previous flights: on December 7, January 3 and January 4, the day before the panel came off. Hole in the unused emergency door.
According to information from the consulting company Cirium to EL PAÍS, a total of 215 devices of this variant are in operation. Aside from Alaska Airlines' 65, United Airlines has 79; the Panamanian Copa (29) and the Mexican Aeroméxico (20). Turkish Airlines has five and the rest is largely spread across a few other companies.
Alaska Airlines initially grounded all 65 of its 737-9 Max aircraft a few hours after the crash. Later, 18 of the aircraft were able to resume flight after receiving detailed maintenance inspections prior to the incident. However, all devices were subsequently taken out of operation again.
United Airlines is also temporarily grounding its planes. The next step is for the airline to work with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to determine the inspection process and requirements for returning the aircraft to service. He had previously said 33 of the planes had passed required inspections before they were all grounded.
Alaska and United had to cancel hundreds of flights due to aircraft unavailability. In Alaska's case, about 20% of its program was affected.
Panamanian airline Copa Airlines said it had grounded 21 of its affected planes. The company has a total of 29 units in its fleet, but operates them in two different configurations. Aeroméxico has followed in the footsteps of United and Alaska Air by removing its 737-9 Max aircraft from service for inspections.
It's raining, it's pouring. The incident has once again put Boeing and its 737 MAX model in the eye of the hurricane after it had its license to fly revoked in 2019 – the American manufacturer even halted production – following two fatal accidents that killed more than 300 people. In October 2018, the plane crashed in the Java Sea in Indonesia. 610 from budget airline Lion Air, operated by a 737 MAX 8; A few months later, in March 2019, 157 people died on Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302 in the worst air disaster of the year – the aircraft model was the same.
The investigation launched after the two accidents found flaws in the design of the model's stabilization system (MCAS) and that the company knew about the flaw despite having assured that the 737 MAX was as safe as any other type of aircraft. For misleading investors, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) fined the company $200 million and fined its former CEO Dennis A. Muilenburg another $1 million. The FAA grounded the 737 MAX until November 2020.
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