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Friday, April 19, 2024

United Airlines Flight Lands in Oregon Missing External Panel

A United Airlines flight departing from San Francisco International Airport on Friday morning landed at Rogue Valley International Medford Airport in Oregon with a missing external panel, as confirmed by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).

The aircraft in question, a Boeing 737-800, safely reached its destination and parked at a gate before the missing panel was discovered. United Airlines stated that there were no indications of damage during the flight, and the aircraft did not declare an emergency while en route to Medford.

United Airlines assured that a comprehensive examination of the plane would be conducted, along with necessary repairs, before it resumes service. Additionally, an investigation will be launched to determine the circumstances surrounding the missing panel.

The flight carried 139 passengers and a crew of six, according to United Airlines, with no reported injuries among them. The aircraft, part of the older generation of 737 aircraft, has been in service for over 25 years, according to Airfleets.net.

Operations at the Medford airport were briefly halted to inspect the runway for any debris, but flights resumed after no remnants were found on the airfield, confirmed Amber Judd, the airport’s director.

Boeing, the aircraft manufacturer, deferred inquiries regarding the flight to United Airlines, while the FAA announced plans to investigate the incident.

The discovery of the missing panel comes amid heightened scrutiny of Boeing’s operations following a recent incident involving a Boeing 737 Max 9 Alaska Airlines flight in January. In that incident, a door-sized section detached from the aircraft shortly after takeoff from Portland, Oregon. Although there were no significant injuries, the incident prompted investigations into Boeing’s quality control measures.

Following the January incident, the FAA initiated a six-week audit of Boeing, uncovering “multiple instances” where the company failed to adhere to quality-control requirements.

Since then, additional issues with flights involving Boeing aircraft have arisen. On March 8, a United Airlines flight at George Bush Intercontinental Airport in Houston veered off the taxiway and into the grass after landing. The aircraft involved was a Boeing 737, according to the FAA.

In another incident in February, an American Airlines flight bound for Madrid, utilizing a Boeing 777, diverted to Boston Logan International Airport due to a cracked windshield shortly after departing from Kennedy International Airport in New York.

The sequence of incidents underscores ongoing concerns regarding aircraft safety and maintenance, particularly concerning Boeing aircraft. As investigations proceed, stakeholders continue to prioritize passenger safety and the integrity of aircraft operations.

David Faber
David Faber
I am a Business Journalist of The National Era
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