Alaska Airlines Grounds Boeing 737-9 Aircrafts After Forced Emergency Landing

Alaska Airlines Grounds Boeing 737-9 Aircrafts After Forced Emergency Landing

Alaska Airlines has temporarily grounded its Boeing 737-9 aircrafts after a piece of a plane blew off during a flight from Portland, Ore. to Ontario, Calif. on Friday, Jan. 5. The plane was forced to return to Portland and make an emergency landing.

In a statement on its website at 7:55 p.m. local time, Alaska Airlines said that Flight 1282 experienced “an incident” soon after departure, but did not provide specifics. The Federal Aviation Administration said the crew reported a “pressurization issue.” Multiple videos posted on TikTok by people who said they were on the flight said a piece of the plane had blown off, with some footage showing a hole in the side of the aircraft.

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The aircraft landed safely back in Portland with 171 guests and six crew members, the airline said. The flight departed Portland just after 5 p.m., appeared to reach an altitude of 16,300 ft., and made a loop before returning to the airport around 20 minutes later, according to flight tracking websites FlightRadar24 and FlightAware.

“The safety of our guests and employees is always our primary priority, so while this type of occurrence is rare, our flight crew was trained and prepared to safely manage the situation,” the airline said. 

CEO Ben Minicucci said in a follow-up statement on the company’s website that the airline decided to temporarily ground its fleet of 65 Boeing 737-9 planes as a precaution and anticipated all inspections would be complete “in the next few days.” The airline said it was working with Boeing and regulators to understand what happened. 

“We are aware of the incident involving Alaska Airlines Flight #AS1282,” the Boeing Company posted on X. “We are working to gather more information and are in contact with our airline customer. A Boeing technical team stands ready to support the investigation.”

The FAA and National Transportation Safety Board are also investigating the incident. The latter posted on X that it would provide updates on the investigation as and when they become available.

“My heart goes out to those who were on this flight––I am sorry for what you experienced,” Minicucci said in the statement. 

Alaska Airlines “deeply apologizes” to passengers impacted by the grounded aircrafts, advising they can go to for more information. The airline has implemented a flexible travel policy and is allowing customers to change, cancel or rebook flights.

Videos posted on social media by people who said they were on the affected plane on Friday show them wearing air masks.


10 minutes into our flight we heard a loud bang and the oxygen masks dropped down. I was in the front and we had no idea what was happening at first, just that the plane depressurized extremely fast. So thankful for the amazing pilots that were able to safely land us! Alaska airlines has some explaining to do. #emergencylanding #portland #almostplanecrash #alaskaairlines

♬ original sound – Courtney

In one video, the poster commented that it was “literally the scariest moment of my life.” The video captures a recording of someone speaking over the plane’s intercom to say that “medical personnel are treating people who are injured.” 

“Everyone was okay thankfully and no one was sitting in the window seat that burst open,” the social media user wrote in the video.

TIME has reached out to Alaska Airlines and Portland Airport for more information on the incident and to ask if anyone was treated for injuries.

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