Alaska Says MAX 9 Grounding Cost $150 Million, Expects Boeing To Pay


On Thursday, Alaska Airlines said the grounding of the Boeing 737 MAX-9 will cost the carrier $150 million, according to a CNBC report. 

Alaska and United Airlines, the two sole U.S. operators of the MAX-9, were forced to ground parts of their fleet after a Jan. 5 incident where a door plug blew out in flight. Since the incident, the FAA has instructed operators to inspect the aircraft while the agency launched an investigation into Boeing’s manufacturing practices and production lines. 

The FAA approved a return to service plan on Wednesday with both carriers expecting the planes to fly again this weekend. 

Along with the projected $150 million loss, Alaska released its full fourth quarter results on Thursday. Prior to the grounding, the company expected full year 2024 capacity to grow 3% to 5% compared to 2023, however, “given the grounding, and the potential for future delivery delays, the company expects capacity growth to be at or below the lower end of this range.”

According to the Seattle Times, Alaska executives expect Boeing to reimburse the millions in losses. In a conference call, Alaska Air Group CEO Ben Minicucci said, “It’s not acceptable what happened. We’re gonna hold them accountable. And we’re going to raise the bar on quality on Boeing. We’re gonna hold Boeing’s feet to the fire to make sure that we get good airplanes out of that factory.”

Russ Niles
Russ Niles is Editor-in-Chief of AVweb. He has been a pilot for 30 years and joined AVweb 22 years ago. He and his wife Marni live in southern British Columbia where they also operate a small winery.


  1. Sic ’em, Alaska! The ONLY way Boeing is gonna learn is by being SERIOUSLY nicked on their bottom line and stock price. Beyond everything else, the prestige of the United States in the aviation sector is at stake. I hope the FAA fines the living you know what out of them, too.


  2. Too big to fail in the sense that Boeing execs are fully aware that the feds will bail them out if needed.

    There’s no risk or need for responsibility at Boeing. They have NASA and the pentagon in their back pocket, not to mention being the only Part 25 manufacturer in the United States, and air travel being part of national critical infrastructure… No chance the government will allow them to see substantial negative ramifications.

    The FAA will simply write a letter saying how very disappointed they are, maybe a small fine and some reshuffling of management.

    Until we start letting businesses like this fail when they deserve to, this will keep happening.

    • That’s easy to say, but in your second ‘graph you established that American jobs, economy, defense, and secondary industries will be collateral damage if we “let them fail”. So how do you suggest Boeing be held accountable, give the VC-25B contract to Airbus?

  3. Waiting for the next headline: “Boeing’s Metastatic Malaise: Safeguarding Public and Military Interests Amidst Loss of Confidence”

  4. In all the discussion of this issue on this forum, I have yet to hear anyone mention the possibility of industrial sabotage. I think the USG and Boeing would be remiss if they are not at least investigating the possibility of sabotage. As to motivations, I can think of many – disgruntled employees, foreign agents with motivation (eg – Russia, Iran, China or other players), deranged individuals, stock manipulators, etc. Not all sabotage is directed at targets of military significance.

  5. Still haven’t heard a peep out of the folks that actually screwed (or unscrewed) this up: the IAM mechs and techs who performed and inspected the work. As a former design engineer at Boeing, doesn’t matter how good the drawings and instructions are if they’re not followed. Boeing should at least demand that the IAM split that bill to keep THEIR members focused too.

    • Damned good point, Ferris. It wasn’t a design flaw that had caused the incident but failed manufacturing/assembly procedures.

      Take the day off and maybe see a ball game, have a meal at a nice restaurant, maybe find a nice old Ferrari to take for a spin. You’ve earned it with that comment.

  6. It’s become obvious that Boeing Corporation cannot safely operate its commercial aircraft division. There are some legitimate options to try to resolve this. Shareholders can put pressure on Boeing’s Board to spin off Boeing’s commercial aircraft division. The government could also apply pressure for the change under both antitrust and national defense concerns. Boeing commercial aircraft should be a separate, independent company run by people that are committed to building safe, reliable aircraft, rather than just another subdivision of a giant corporation that seems to care more about profits than the quality and safety of their products.