Airlines have been forced to cancel hundreds of flights after the US aviation regulator ordered 171 Boeing 737 Max 9 planes to be grounded.
The Federal Aviation Administration issued the order after part of the fuselage of an Alaska Airlines’ 737 fell off on Friday.
“We have grounded the affected airplanes, and they will remain grounded until the FAA is satisfied that they are safe,” the FAA said in a statement on Sunday.
Airlines around the world operate about 215 Boeing Max 9 planes, according to aviation data provider Cirium.
The grounding order by the FAA mainly affects Alaska Airlines, which has 65 Max 9s, and United Airlines, which has 79. However, AerCap, Aeromexico, Panama’s Copa Airlines, Icelandair, Indonesia’s Lion Air, Turkish Airlines, Air leas Corp and BOC Aviation have also been affected.
Alaska Airlines said on Sunday that it had cancelled 163 flights, around 21% of its total, affecting about 25,000 passengers. United cancelled about 180 flights yesterday.
Authorities are still searching for a plug door that fell from Alaska Airlines flight 1282 as it flew over the US city of Portland towards Ontario.
The plane, carrying 177 passengers and crew, landed safely back in Portland. Alaska said several passengers were injured, but not seriously.
The FAA said aircraft inspections are continuing.
The Max aircraft was grounded in March 2019 for about 18 months after two fatal crashes just weeks apart, one operated by Lion Air and the other was Ethiopian Airlines.