Subsequent to the accident involving Alaska Airlines flight 1282 on 5 January 2024, Boeing 737-9 (MAX 9) aircraft with plugs in lieu of mid-cabin exit doors (MED) remain grounded. 190 of the 217 Boeing 737-9 aircraft that have been delivered are in this configuration, though FAA updates only refer to 171 aircraft. It's unclear which 19 aircraft are excluded from the FAA's tally.
(There has been a great deal of confusion in the press over what failed in the accident. A door, a window, part of a wall, maybe the roof? 🙄)
The door plug is one of three available configurations. Max Kingsley-Jones produced a precise summary based on data from Cirium, identifying these distinct configurations:
|plug in lieu of door
Visibly, on the 25 aircraft with a door (active or not) there is a small, circular window, like those in the main doors at the front and rear of the cabin. On aircraft with a plug, there is a normal cabin window, albeit with wider margins on either side. Six companies operate the 190 aircraft which are equipped with plugs:
|plus 8 with deactivated doors
|737-9 BBJ MAX
Today's Featured Map shows the locations of the 182 aircraft parked in North and Central America as of yesterday. (Several aircraft have been ferried each of the last few days; this is allowed under the grounding order so long as the ferry flights do not exceed an altitude of 10,000 feet.)
The five Turkish are parked in Istanbul (three aircraft), Doha, and Baku; two COPA aircraft are parked in South America (Montevideo and Santiago), and the Reliance Industries 737-9 BBJ MAX has been parked at Basel since last April. (The aircraft counts in the operator table link to the locations of each operator's aircraft.)
The top four locations of parked aircraft are hubs for the four biggest operators, which should come as no surprise: 19 aircraft are parked at Alaska's Seattle hub and 16 each are parked at COPA's Panama City and Aeroméxico's México City hubs. Another 16 are parked at San Francisco, a mix of United Airlines (9) and Alaska Airlines (7) aircraft.
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Karl L. Swartz.
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