Boeing 737 Max 9 grounding will cost $150 million

Alaska Airlines N704AL, a 737 Max 9, which made an emergency landing at Portland International Airport on January 5 is parked at a maintenance hanger in Portland, Oregon on January 23, 2024. 

Patrick T. Fallon | AFP | Getty Images

Alaska Airlines said Thursday that the weekslong grounding of the Boeing 737 Max 9 will cost the carrier $150 million.

The Federal Aviation Administration grounded the planes a day after a door plug blew out during an Alaska flight on Jan. 5. Late Wednesday the agency said it approved inspection instructions that would allow that type of aircraft to return to service.

Alaska said Wednesday that the first Max 9 flights would resume as early as Friday and that it would gradually return the aircraft to service through early February.

Both Alaska and United Airlines, the two U.S. carriers that have the Max 9s in their fleets, said they found loose bolts on several Max 9 planes during preliminary inspections shortly after the accident.

Alaska on Thursday forecast full-year adjusted earnings per share of between $3 and $5, including the hit from the Max grounding. Analysts polled by LSEG, formerly known as Refinitiv, were predicting adjusted earnings of $4.93 a share on average.

Alaska said before the grounding, it expected to grow capacity from 3% to 5% this year, but, “given the grounding, and the potential for future delivery delays, the Company expects capacity growth to be at or below the lower end of this range.”

Shares of Alaska rose more than 4% on Thursday.

Alaska’s CFO, Shane Tackett, said on an earnings call on Thursday that “while we fully expect to be made whole for the profit impact of the grounding, we do not have details to share today on that process, nor have we incorporated this into our guidance.”

Alaska and United CEOs have expressed frustration and anger with Boeing this week after the accident.

“I’m more than frustrated and disappointed,” Alaska CEO Ben Minicucci told NBC News on Tuesday. “I am angry.”

The impairment disclosure Thursday came alongside the company’s fourth-quarter earnings report.

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