Alaska Airlines is canceling through Saturday all flights on Boeing 737 Max 9 planes like the one that suffered an in-flight blowout of a fuselage panel last week as it waits for new instructions from Boeing and federal officials on how to inspect the fleet.
The Seattle-based airline said Wednesday that it would cancel 110 to 150 flights a day while the Max 9 planes remain grounded. By midday, Alaska had canceled about 120 flights — one-fifth of its schedule for the day.
“We hope this action provides guests with a little more certainty, and we are working around the clock to reaccommodate impacted guests on other flights,” the airline said on its website.
United Airlines, the only other U.S. carrier that operates the Max 9, had canceled about 200 flights, but it was not clear how many were related to the Boeing plane.
Boeing and the Federal Aviation Administration did not comment immediately.
The FAA grounded all Max 9s in the United States on Saturday, the day after a panel called a door plug blew off an Alaska Airlines jet over Oregon, leaving a hole in the side of the plane. The plug replaces extra doors that are used on Max 9s that are outfitted with more seats than Alaska uses.
The pilots of flight 1282 were able to return to Portland, Oregon, and make a safe emergency landing. No serious injuries were reported.
The FAA approved inspection and repair guidelines developed by Boeing on Monday. However, on Tuesday the agency ordered Boeing to revise the instructions based on “feedback received in response.”
Alaska and United both reported finding loose bolts and other problems in the panel doors of an unspecified number of other Max 9s that they had begun to inspect.
The Max — of which there are two models flying, the 8 and larger 9, and two more in development — is the latest version of Boeing’s half-century-old 737. Two Max 8 jets crashed in 2018 and 2019, killing 346 people, and the plane has been dogged by manufacturing quality problems since then.