FAA Issues Ground Stop for Alaska Airlines Planes Nationwide

The ground stop was lifted later on Wednesday, according to the federal agency.
FAA Issues Ground Stop for Alaska Airlines Planes Nationwide
An Alaska Airlines jet passes the air traffic control tower at Los Angles International Airport (LAX) during take-off on April 22, 2013. (David McNew/Getty Images)
Jack Phillips
The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) on Wednesday issued a ground stop advisory for all Alaska Airlines planes. It was lifted on Wednesday at around noon, according to the agency.

The Seattle-based airline told news outlets in a statement Wednesday that the stop was initiated because it had problem “while performing an upgrade to the system that calculates our weight and balance.”

When the stop was initiated, the FAA provided few details, only writing: “All Alaska mainline and subcarrier flights ground stopped.” No reason was provided by the agency.

In a separate statement to Reuters, the agency said Alaska Airlines had “asked the FAA to pause the airline’s mainline departures nationwide.”

A report from CNBC said that the airline’s system used to calculate weight and balance for flights was not functioning correctly. The Epoch Times contacted Alaska Airlines for comment Wednesday.

In response to passenger complaints on social media platform X, formerly known as Twitter, Alaska Airlines said it was working on getting people moving as soon as possible. It’s not clear when that may happen, and no timeline was provided.

Shares of Alaska Air Group, which owns the airline, were up 2 percent on Wednesday morning.

It is not clear whether the ground stop is related to recent troubles that have been plaguing Boeing, which has been mired in controversy amid questions about the top airplane manufacturer’s safety record.

On Wednesday, United Airlines said that the emergency grounding of Boeing’s 737 Max 9 jetliner cost the firm about $200 million in the first three months of 2024, blaming the Boeing disruption for the firm’s inability to turn a profit for the quarter.

In January, the door plug of an Alaska Airlines Boeing 737 Max 9 blew out during a flight that forced the FAA to ground dozens of the Max planes. It forced United and Alaska Airlines, the only other carrier with the Max 9 planes, to cancel thousands of flights in the meantime.

Days after the incident, Alaska Airlines said on Jan. 26 that it resumed its Max 9 service after inspections were completed on the aircraft.

Last month, Alaska Airlines said it is cooperating with the U.S. Department of Justice after a criminal investigation was opened into the Max blowout.

“In an event like this, it’s normal for the DOJ to be conducting an investigation. We are fully cooperating and do not believe we are a target of the investigation,” Alaska Airlines said in an emailed statement at the time.

In February, the U.S. National Transportation Safety Board revealed the defective door that blew out appeared to be missing key bolts. That door was manufactured by a former Boeing subsidiary.

This is a breaking news story. Check back later for more developments.
Jack Phillips is a breaking news reporter with 15 years experience who started as a local New York City reporter. Having joined The Epoch Times' news team in 2009, Jack was born and raised near Modesto in California's Central Valley. Follow him on X: https://twitter.com/jackphillips5