Boeing's Crisis: Shares Tumble as FAA Grounds 737 Max 9s After Alaska Airlines Incident

Boeing's Crisis: Shares Tumble as FAA Grounds 737 Max 9s After Alaska Airlines Incident
Photo by Justin Lim / Unsplash


In a dramatic turn of events that rocked the aviation world, Boeing shares plummeted by 8% in premarket trading, following a decision by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to ground dozens of Boeing 737 Max 9 aircraft. This decision came in the wake of an alarming incident involving an Alaska Airlines flight, raising fresh concerns over the safety of Boeing’s aircraft.

The FAA’s Emergency Directive

The FAA's emergency airworthiness directive was a response to a serious incident on an Alaska Airlines flight where part of the plane's exterior blew out mid-flight. This directive affects approximately 171 planes globally, necessitating thorough inspections before these aircraft can return to the skies. This move underscores the heightened scrutiny the aviation sector faces, particularly regarding passenger safety.

Market Response and Boeing’s Challenges

The market’s reaction was swift and severe. By 5:05 a.m. ET, Boeing’s shares had dipped over 8%, signaling investor unease. This development is a significant blow to Boeing, a company still navigating the turbulent aftermath of two fatal crashes involving its 737 Max nearly five years ago. These incidents had led to a global grounding of the jetliner, severely impacting Boeing’s financials and reputation.

Investigation and Immediate Fallout

The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) has initiated an investigation into the Alaska Airlines incident. The aircraft in question, a 178-seater Boeing 737 Max 9 delivered to Alaska Airlines on November 11th, experienced a structural failure that led to a hole in its fuselage. Passengers were subjected to a harrowing experience, with images of the damaged aircraft and passengers wearing oxygen masks circulating on social media.

Industry and Regulatory Perspective

This latest incident raises critical questions about Boeing’s quality control and the pace of its operations. Russ Mould, Investment Director at AJ Bell, expressed concerns over Boeing’s recent string of problems, highlighting the potential repercussions for the company’s market position and future business prospects.

In contrast, shares of Airbus, Boeing’s European competitor, saw a 1.7% rise as investors speculated on a potential shift in market dynamics favoring Airbus.

Boeing’s Response and Regulatory Scrutiny

The FAA’s decision and the subsequent market response put Boeing under intense pressure. The company faces tough questions from regulators and customers alike. The FAA Administrator Mike Whitaker emphasized that safety remains a paramount concern, indicating that regulatory agencies would not hesitate to take decisive action to ensure passenger safety.

Impact on Airlines and Passengers

The grounding directive has a direct impact on airlines operating the Boeing 737 Max 9. United Airlines, with 79 aircraft affected, and Alaska Airlines, with 65, are among the most impacted. This situation poses logistical challenges and potential financial strains for these airlines, as they scramble to accommodate passengers and adjust schedules.

Broader Implications for the Aviation Industry

The incident and the FAA's response are not isolated events but part of a broader narrative in the aviation industry, where safety and reliability have become paramount. This situation serves as a stark reminder of the complexities and challenges in aircraft manufacturing and operation, where the stakes are incredibly high.


Boeing’s latest crisis is a convergence of safety concerns, regulatory action, and market reactions. It highlights the delicate balance that aviation companies must maintain between operational efficiency and uncompromising safety standards. As the NTSB continues its investigation, the aviation world watches closely, understanding that the outcomes of this incident could have far-reaching implications for the future of air travel.