Alaska Airlines N704AL is seen on the ground in a hangar at Portland International Airport in Portland, Oregon, on January 9, 2024.
Mathieu Louis Rolland | Getty Images
The Federal Aviation Administration on Wednesday halted Boeing's planned expansion of its 737 Max jets, but cleared the way for the manufacturer's Max 9 plane to return to service nearly three weeks after a door plug exploded on an Alaska Airlines plane.
“Let me be clear: This will not go back to business as usual for Boeing,” FAA Administrator Mike Whitaker said in a statement on Wednesday. He added: “We will not approve any request from Boeing to expand production or approve additional production lines for the 737 MAX until we are satisfied that the quality control issues revealed during this process have been resolved.”
Boeing did not immediately comment. Its shares fell more than 3% in after-hours trading after the FAA announcement.
Boeing Co. is scrambling to increase production of its best-selling planes as airlines demand new planes in the wake of the pandemic.
The Federal Aviation Administration also said Wednesday that it had approved inspection instructions for the Max 9. Airlines were waiting for that approval to review their fleets in order to return those planes to service.
The Federal Aviation Administration grounded the 737 Max 9 aircraft after a fuselage panel exploded during the boarding of Flight 1282 from Portland, Oregon, on January 5. This grounding forced United Airlines and Alaska Airlines, the two American airlines that own the planes, to cancel hundreds of flights.
The CEOs of United and Alaska have expressed frustration with Boeing after the issue, the most serious in a recent wave of apparent manufacturing defects on Boeing planes. The aircraft was delivered on an Alaska flight late last year.
This is breaking news. Check back for updates.
“Infuriatingly humble alcohol fanatic. Unapologetic beer practitioner. Analyst.”