Mon. Feb 26th, 2024

Alaska Airlines estimates 150 million the cost of the suspension of the Boeing MAX 9

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An Alaska Airlines Boeing 737-900ER on the tarmac at John F. Kennedy Airport in New York (File photo)< /p>Agence France-Presse

The flight ban on certain Boeing 737 MAX 9s in the United States is expected to weigh up to $150 million on accounts of Alaska Airlines, one of whose aircraft suffered an in-flight incident in early January.

It plans a gradual return of its fleet – or 65 targeted aircraft – to the air from Friday until the beginning of February, she said indicated Thursday.

This suspension will have a material operational and financial impact on our activities with approximately a third of our capacities affected in January, said Ben Minicucci, boss of Alaska Airlines, during an audio conference with analysts.

The group estimates the number of flights canceled in January at 3,000.

We believe it is likely that the delivery of several aircraft will be delayed, which will further impact our capacity for the full year.

A quote from Ben Minicucci, boss of Alaska Airlines

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Mr. Minicucci continued by recalling that he originally forecast an increase of 3% to 5% compared to 2023.

According to the group, in this context, it should only reach the bottom of this range.

On January 5, a cabin door of one of its Boeing 737 MAX 9 flying from Portland, Oregon to Ontario, California, came loose in flight.

Airlines have the possibility of blocking a door when the number of existing emergency exits is sufficient in relation to the number of seats in the aircraft. This modification has been made on 171 of the 218 Boeing 737 MAX 9s delivered to date.

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The door cap of an Alaska Airlines Boeing 737 MAX 9 awaits inspection at the airline's facility at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport January 10.

In the process, the American aviation regulatory agency (FAA) suspended the devices thus configured from flying until further notice.< /p>

The regulator announced Wednesday evening that it had established a vast maintenance and inspection program to allow these planes to return to the air.

It includes in particular the verification of specific fasteners as well as visual inspections of all cap holders and their components, as well as the repair of any damage or abnormal condition .

Only once the established plan has been completed will the aircraft be able to return to service, said the FAA without giving a date.

According to Alaska Airlines, these inspections require around twelve hours per aircraft.

Shortly after the FAA announcement Wednesday evening, the operational director of United Airlines – which has the largest fleet of this model (79 aircraft) – sent a message to the company's staff.

We will only return each MAX 9 aircraft to service once the thorough inspection process has been completed, Toby Enqvist assured. We are preparing a resumption of aircraft service from Sunday.

By unveiling its results for the end of 2023 on Monday evening, the group announced that it anticipated a net loss in the first quarter of 2024 of between 35 and 85 cents per share with the assumption of a suspension of flights until January 31.

For Scott Kirby, his boss, this suspension is the straw that broke the camel's back.

Tired of the production problems that continue to arise at Boeing, it announced on Tuesday the withdrawal of the 737 MAX 10 – the largest model in the 737 family, whose certification by the FAA is slow – from the airline's flight programs. x27;United.

This aircraft made its first flight in June 2021. At the time, its first deliveries were planned for 2023.

United was counting on the delivery of 277 MAX 10s by the end of the decade and its options for 200 additional devices.

It's a fantastic plane, but we can't count on it.

A quote from Scott Kirby, boss of United Airlines

Southwest echoed him on Thursday, indicating that it had not included the 737 MAX 7 in its plan of flights for 2024, while it expected 27. It ordered 307 copies, for delivery until 2031.

More smallest member of the 737 MAX family, it is also awaiting certification. It made its first flight in 2018. Deliveries were expected to begin the following year.

According to its website, Boeing received 391 gross orders of the MAX 7 and 1180 of the MAX 10.

Around 1:15 p.m. Thursday, Boeing's stock was down 6.06% at New York stock market. It has lost a fifth of its value since January 5. Southwest was down 0.61%, and Alaska and United were up 5.33% and 3.48%, respectively.

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