Boeing pays Alaska Airlines $160m compensation for mid-air door blowout

Aircraft landed with gaping hole in i side after door plug fell off mid-flight

Maroosha Muzaffar
Friday 05 April 2024 09:05 BST
Boeing boss admits mistake over Alaska Airlines plane door blowout

Boeing has paid Alaska Airlines $160m (£126m) to compensate for losses resulting from a mid-air blowout of a door plug in January.

The payment addresses profits lost in the first quarter of the year, with expectations of further payouts in the future, it was reported.

An Alaska Airlines flight from Portland, Oregon, had to make an emergency landing after a panel – known as a door plug or a fuselage plug – fell off shortly after takeoff, leaving a gaping hole in the side of the aircraft.

In the aftermath, regulators temporarily grounded nearly 200 Boeing 737 Max 9 aircraft. This led to the cancellation of thousands of flights.

Airlines are currently grappling with delivery delays as Boeing reduced production of new planes to address manufacturing and safety issues.

In February, Ryanair, a budget carrier, cautioned that holidaymakers might encounter higher fares due to these delays.

Meanwhile, it was reported last week that Boeing CEO Dave Calhoun could walk away with a $24m compensation package.

Mr Calhoun announced he would be resigning as CEO at the end of the year following a string of incidents that have sparked major safety concerns about the company’s aircraft. He described the latest of the incidents – the Alaska Airlines blowout – as a “watershed moment” for Boeing.

The shocking safety breach has resulted in investigations from the US Federal Aviation Administration, the Department of Justice, and the National Transportation Safety Board.

“We must continue to respond to this accident with humility and complete transparency,” Mr Calhoun wrote in a memo posted on Boeing’s website. “We also must inculcate a total commitment to safety and quality at every level of our company.”

In January, Alaska Airlines passengers initiated legal action against Boeing over the panel blowout.

The FBI told the passengers that they might be victims of a crime.

“I’m contacting you because we have identified you as a possible victim of a crime,” a victim specialist from the federal agency’s Seattle office wrote to passengers late last month. “This case is currently under investigation by the FBI.”

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