Alaska Airlines is reported to have 32 Boeing 737 MAX 9 aircraft on order, with delivery beginning later in 2019.
Can we trust this aircraft? I fear not. This 737 MAX 9 is the larger version of the MAX 8 that was grounded around the world after two catastrophic crashes, months apart. Both planes experienced similar crash characteristics. After years of success with the standard 737’s, Boeing built the MAX 8 and 9 primarily for greater passenger capacity and fuel efficiency. Unfortunately, the MAX 9 has the same computerized anti-stall system that the MAX 8 had, made necessary because of larger engines placed further forward on the fuselage. Boeing has yet to resolve safety concerns inherent in this system. Reporting by The New York Times (10 articles, 3/10 to 4/12), as well as a persuasive criticism by Ralph Nader, who lost a family member on the second crash (NPR interview, April 4), give no reassurance that this plane is safe to fly.
I urge Alaskans who use Alaska Airlines to become informed on this critical issue affecting their safety, and express their concerns to Alaska Airlines Customer Relations, by letter or online. I have already expressed my view that the existing 737 MAX 9 order for 32 planes should be withdrawn and replaced with additional standard class 737 aircraft, planes that have gained the public’s trust for decades. Our safety cannot be jeopardized for the benefit of more fuel efficiency and passenger capacity.
• My Turns and Letters to the Editor represent the view of the author, not the view of the Juneau Empire.