Boeing Pays Alaska Airlines $160 Million in Cash

( – Alaska Airlines suffered a major drop in revenue following a cabin blow-out in one of its Boeing 737 jets. No one died in the terrifying ordeal, but passengers could easily have been sucked out of the plane if they hadn’t still been secured for takeoff. To compensate for those losses, Boeing just paid the airline $160 million in cash.

Alaska Airlines Flight 1282 on January 5 was just six minutes into its journey from Portland, Oregon, to Ontario, California, when an improperly maintained door plug failed to hold. The blow-out was explosive enough to rip cell phones from passengers’ hands, and it reportedly tore the shirt off a child who was seated nearby. No one had been sitting directly beside the damaged area.

Even more lucky, the plane was only at 16,000 feet when the incident occurred so passengers were still required to wear safety belts. If the jet had reached cruising altitude — generally around 37,000 feet — the outcome could have been far more tragic.

Emergency oxygen masks deployed and passengers used the assistive devices while the plane prepared to land. No one was seriously injured, although some people were treated for minor injuries, and one person was transported for additional care.

Alaska Airlines immediately grounded all 65 of its 737-9 jets, so it could conduct thorough inspections and any necessary maintenance. Still, the company’s stocks plummeted. An April 4 filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission states that the company lost gross earnings of $160 million last quarter as a direct result of the January blow-out.

Four missing bolts were ultimately to blame for the blown panel. Even more concerning, no one was able to pinpoint the required paperwork for the panel’s removal and reinstallation — if it ever existed at all. Initial reports suggest Boeing’s factory was chaotic and poorly managed prior to the incident, but the company promises that it is working harder to improve production quality.

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