By The Canadian Press
TORONTO — Canadian airlines say they don’t fly the Boeing 737-9 Max jetliners that U.S. regulators have grounded after an Alaska Airlines plane suffered a blowout while in flight.
The Alaska Airlines 737-9 Max jetliner blew out a window and a portion of its fuselage shortly after takeoff nearly five kilometres above Oregon late Friday, creating a gaping hole that forced the pilots to make an emergency landing as its 174 passengers and six crew members donned oxygen masks.
Airlines including Air Canada, WestJet, Sunwing Airlines, Flair Airlines and Lynx Air all say they fly the 737-8 Max jetliner, while Porter Airlines doesn’t fly any Boeing planes.
Air Canada says its 40 aircraft in the 737-8 Max series don’t have the mid-cabin exit door configuration of the Max 9, adding the aircraft have performed very reliably.
WestJet spokeswoman Julia Kaiser says the airline’s Max 8 planes also don’t have the same door in question in the Alaska Airlines incident, and the company is in constant communication with Boeing to make sure there are no implications to the Max 8 fleet.
Transport Canada grounded Boeing 737 Max aircraft in the country in March 2019 following two overseas crashes that left 346 people dead, but the order was lifted in January 2021.
The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration said Saturday it was requiring immediate inspections of Max 9 planes operated by U.S. airlines or flown in the United States by foreign carriers.
The regulator says the order will affect about 171 planes worldwide.
Boeing issued a brief statement Friday noting that it was aware of the Alaska Airlines incident and was working to gather more information.
The Alaska Airlines plane is almost new, carrying passengers only since November on 145 flights according to Flightradar24, a flight-tracking service.
The Max — there are currently three versions: the 8, 9 and 10, which differ mainly in size — is the newest version of Boeing’s venerable 737, a twin-engine, single-aisle plane.
— With files from The Associated Press