Canadian airlines say they don’t operate aircraft model involved in Alaska Airlines incident

Click to play video: 'Alaska Airlines passengers survive terrifying incident'
Alaska Airlines passengers survive terrifying incident
An Alaska Airlines Boeing 737 was forced to make an emergency landing Friday, after a window and a portion of its fuselage blew out shortly after takeoff over Oregon. – Jan 6, 2024

Canadian airline operators say they do not fly the version of the Alaska Airlines aircraft that was grounded Friday after experiencing a blowout midair.

The Minister of Transport’s office confirmed with Global News Saturday that there is no link with Canadian operators.

“The (U.S Federal Aviation Administration) and Boeing are investigating. We’ll wait for the results of this investigation and won’t hesitate to take any necessary steps to keep Canadians safe,” the ministry said in an email.

An Alaska Airlines Boeing 737-9 Max jetliner made an emergency landing with 174 passengers onboard late Friday, after a window and a portion of its fuselage blew out shortly after takeoff, nearly five kilometres above Oregon. The blown-out portion of the aircraft left a gaping hole that sucked clothing off a child.

No one was seriously hurt as the depressurized plane returned safely to Portland International Airport, but the airline grounded the aircraft for inspection. The National Transportation Safety Board said Saturday it will also investigate.

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Air Canada, WestJet and Lynx Air told Global News they only have the Boeing 737-8 Max version of the aircraft, which does not share the same door design.

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“We have 40 of these aircraft and they have performed very reliably with an excellent safety record. The mid-cabin exit door configuration only applies to the 737 MAX 9, and is not present on our 737 MAX 8,” Air Canada told Global News in an email Saturday.

Flair and Porter lists their fleets online, and they do not include the Boeing 737-9 Max jet.

The FAA said in a statement Saturday that it is ordering the temporary grounding of certain Boeing 737-9 Max aircraft operated by U.S. airlines, or are in U.S. territory.

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The FAA also said it is issuing an Emergency Airworthiness Directive (EAD) that will require operators to inspect aircraft that do not meet the inspection cycles specified.

The inspections will affect approximately 171 airplanes worldwide and will take around four to eight hours per aircraft.

“Safety will continue to drive our decision-making as we assist the NTSB’s investigation into Alaska Airlines Flight 1282,” FAA administrator Mike Whitaker said in an email.

John Cox, CEO of Safety Operating Systems in the U.S., says people flying with airlines outside of Canada shouldn’t worry about travelling on a Boeing 737-9 Max jet.

He says the incident Alaska Airlines experienced is “extremely uncommon,” as the type of door that blew off the aircraft has been used without issue for decades.

“I would certainly get on a (Boeing 737-9) Max tomorrow morning without a second thought. I would put my family on it,” he told Global News.

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