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Boeing Withdraws Safety Exemption Request for MAX 7

Boeing is withdrawing a request for a safety exemption for a new MAX series jet that would have allowed U.S. regulators to speed up its approval, a decision that comes as the plane maker faces heightened scrutiny in the wake of a midair accident earlier this month.

Boeing confirmed Tuesday that it would withdraw the request, made last year to the Federal Aviation Administration, related to the new 737 MAX 7 jet’s de-icing system.

“While we are confident that the proposed time-limited exemption for that system follows established FAA processes to ensure safe operation, we will instead incorporate an engineering solution that will be completed during the certification process,” Boeing said in a statement to Dow Jones Newswires.

The decision comes amid pressure from lawmakers to drop the request in the wake of a midair blowout of a door plug on a 737 MAX 9 jet flown by Alaska Airlines on Jan. 5, and adds uncertainty to the certification timeline of the MAX 7. Before the accident, Boeing had been expecting certification of the MAX 7 and the longer MAX 10—both are already delayed—early this year.

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What Fliers Need to Know About the Grounding of Some 737 MAX Flights

Travelers with upcoming flights on Alaska, United may be affected after Alaska flight was forced to make emergency landing

Alaska Air and United said they grounded all of their MAX 9 jets as they awaited details about possible additional work that may be required to comply with the FAA’s order.  Travelers on Tuesday faced flight cancellations by United and Alaska airlines, one of several ripple effects from the weekend grounding of the Boeing 737 MAX 9.

The problem is now compounded by a series of severe storms across the U.S. United Airlines canceled more than 190 flights, or 7% of flights, as of Tuesday morning, according to flight tracker FlightAware. Alaska Airlines canceled about 17% of its flights as of Tuesday morning.

The fallout stems from a Friday incident on an Alaska flight from Portland, Ore., to Ontario, Calif. An emergency exit-sized door plug blew out at around 16,000 feet.

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Boeing Is Back in the Spotlight—This Time Over a MAX 9

After latest incident, Boeing executives race to reassure airlines as FAA grounds 171 MAX 9 jets

A 737 MAX at Boeing’s factory in Renton, Wash. The line of jets has encountered past troubles. The last thing Boeing needed was more trouble with its 737 MAX jet. That is exactly what it got to start the new year.

The company had just started to regain its footing after years of tumult around the popular but troubled line of narrow-body jets when a MAX 9 operated by Alaska Airlines had a structural failure Friday night.

A panel that plugs an emergency door ripped away at 16,000 feet leaving a gaping hole in a cabin full of passengers. The Federal Aviation Administration responded Saturday by ordering airlines to ground about 171 of the MAX 9 planes and to conduct inspections. The checks take about four hours and, if cleared, planes can return to service.

Jennifer Homendy, chair of the National Transportation Safety Board, said Saturday that its investigation is focused on the Alaska Airlines incident and isn’t looking more broadly at Boeing’s 737 MAX.

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