European safety regulators have followed the US FAA in taking action against the Boeing 737 Max 9, after the Alaska Airlines depressurisation incident, although the effect is likely to be limited.

The FAA ordered a temporary grounding of the Max 9 after a mid-cabin door detached from the Alaska aircraft as it climbed out of Portland on 5 January.

It states that the issue could affect other aircraft of the same design, and has ordered inspections before further flight of the aircraft.

The European Union Aviation Safety Agency has formally adopted the FAA directive, although it believes no operators in EASA member states are affected.

EASA says that, to its knowledge, and based on Boeing and FAA information, no European airline operates the aircraft in the “relevant configuration”, with the mid-cabin exit replaced by a ”plug-in panel”.

This de-activation is typically adopted by carriers with lower-density interiors, because the exit is unnecessary to meet evacuation requirements. 

EASA says Max 9s in Europe do not have this configuration, and the aircraft are ”therefore not grounded” and can ”continue to operate normally”.

Boeing 737 Max 9 Icelandair-c-Boeing

Source: Boeing

None of the 737 Max 9s operated by EASA member states’ carriers are affected by the directive

Relatively few Max 9s operate in Europe. Carriers using the type include Turkish Airlines, which configures its jets with 169 seats, and Icelandair which has Max 9s with 178 seats.

UK regulators have requested foreign operators of the Max 9 to undertake inspections of the aircraft before operating them within UK airspace. There are no Max 9s on the UK register, the Civil Aviation Authority adds.