EASA Follows Suit with FAA, Grounding Specific 737 MAX Models Despite No European Impact

In a move mirroring the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA)'s recent directive, the European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) has adopted similar measures for a specific configuration of the Boeing 737 MAX aircraft. This precautionary action comes despite no European airlines currently operating the affected 737 MAX models.


The decision stems from an incident on an Alaska Airlines flight on January 5th, where a mid-cabin exit door detached during climb out, causing rapid cabin decompression. While thankfully no one was injured, the incident raised safety concerns regarding this specific configuration of the 737 MAX, which features a plugged-in panel replacing the mid-cabin exit.

Precautionary Measures Across the Atlantic

While EASA acknowledges that no airlines within its member states utilize the affected 737 MAX configuration, it has chosen to adopt the FAA's Emergency Airworthiness Directive (EAD) as a precautionary measure. This directive mandates inspections and potential maintenance work on all 737 MAX aircraft with the plugged-in panel configuration until further safety assessments are completed.

"The safety of passengers and crew is our top priority," declared EASA Executive Director Patrick Ky. "Although the specific configuration involved is not currently in operation within the EU, we believe it is prudent to take these precautionary measures to ensure the continued safe operation of the Boeing 737 MAX in European airspace."

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Minimal Impact Expected for European Flights

The grounding of the affected 737 MAX models within the EU is expected to have minimal impact on passenger travel, as no airlines currently operate this specific configuration. However, the directive could potentially delay the delivery of any newly ordered 737 MAX aircraft with the plugged-in panel configuration until the safety concerns are addressed.


Ongoing Investigations and Uncertain Timeline

The FAA's investigation into the Alaska Airlines incident is ongoing, and the exact cause of the mid-cabin door detachment remains undetermined. The timeline for resolving the safety concerns and lifting the grounding order is also unclear. Boeing, in collaboration with the FAA and EASA, is actively working to address the issue and implement any necessary modifications to ensure the continued safe operation of the affected 737 MAX models.

Safety First, Always

While the grounding of aircraft can cause inconvenience and disruption, it is ultimately a vital step in ensuring the safety of passengers and crew. The swift action taken by both the FAA and EASA demonstrates their commitment to prioritizing safety above all else in the aviation industry.

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