This photo released by the National Transportation Safety Board shows a gaping hole where the paneled-over door had been at the fuselage plug area of Alaska Airlines Flight 1282 on Sunday in Portland, Ore. A panel used to plug an area reserved for an exit door on the Boeing 737 Max 9 jetliner blew out Jan. 5, shortly after the flight took off from Portland, forcing the plane to return to Portland International Airport. (National Transportation Safety Board via AP)

This photo released by the National Transportation Safety Board shows a gaping hole where the paneled-over door had been at the fuselage plug area of Alaska Airlines Flight 1282 on Sunday in Portland, Ore. A panel used to plug an area reserved for an exit door on the Boeing 737 Max 9 jetliner blew out Jan. 5, shortly after the flight took off from Portland, forcing the plane to return to Portland International Airport. (National Transportation Safety Board via AP)

Juneau again avoids cancellations as Alaska Airlines extends Max 9 groundings through Saturday

Flights Thursday, Friday rebooked on different plane; next potentially affected flights on Monday.

Juneau is continuing to avoid flight cancellations by Alaska Airlines, which is now keeping its fleet of Boeing 737 Max 9 planes grounded through at least Saturday, with an inbound flight from Seattle on Thursday evening and outbound flight to Seattle on Friday morning now scheduled aboard a Boeing 737-900, according to the airline’s website.

The next potentially affected local flights are Monday, with an inbound flight from Anchorage scheduled to depart aboard a Max 9 at 7:22 a.m. and an outbound flight to Seattle scheduled to depart at 10:03 a.m.

Alaska Airlines, in a statement Wednesday, expects to cancel 110 to 150 flights a day — up to about one-fourth of its schedule — while the Max 9 planes remain grounded. Flights in Alaska, primarily between Anchorage to Seattle are being affected daily by the cancellations, according to the tracking website FlightAware.

The Federal Aviation Administration grounded all Max 9 planes in the United States on Saturday, a day after a fuselage blowout during a flight in Oregon that leaving a hole in the side of the plane. The plug replaces extra doors that are used on Max 9s that are outfitted with more seats than Alaska uses.

Investigators with the National Transportation Safety Board said this week they have not found four bolts used to help secure the 63-pound door plug, and they are not certain whether the bolts were missing before the plane took off or broke during the flight.

The FAA approved inspection and repair guidelines developed by Boeing on Monday. However, on Tuesday the agency ordered Boeing to revise the instructions based on “feedback received in response.”

The order to revise the guidelines came after Alaska and United reported finding loose bolts and other problems in the panel doors of an unspecified number of other Max 9s that they had begun to inspect.

• Contact Mark Sabbatini at mark.sabbatini@juneauempire.com or (907) 957-2306. The Associated Press contributed to this story.

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