Alaska Airlines Receives $160 Million From Boeing for Blowout Accident

  • Skift Take
    Alaska said the $160 million was an initial payment from Boeing and it expects more compensation beyond the first-quarter.

    Alaska Airlines said in a regulatory filing Thursday it received $160 million from Boeing as initial compensation to make up for the lost profits caused by the sudden blowout of a door plug on a 737 Max 9 in January. 

    The $160 million is the initial payment —  Alaska said it expects to receive more compensation from Boeing for the blowout, but the terms of the future payouts have not been disclosed. 

    The carrier also reported that it lost some bookings during the first quarter due to the subsequent grounding of the Max 9, according to the regulatory filing. 

    Without the blowout accident and grounding of the Max 9, Alaska said its first-quarter pre-tax profit would have improved 80% compared to the same time last year. Alaska is expecting a first-quarter adjusted loss of $1.15 to $1.05 a share, a greater loss than the $0.55 to $0.45 a share previously forecast. 

    The Boeing compensation will be excluded in Alaska’s first-quarter forecast. 

    Alaska and United Airlines, the only two U.S. carriers that operate the Max 9, canceled thousands of flights in January after the Federal Aviation Administration grounded the plane for nearly one month following the blowout. 

    Alaska CEO Ben Minicucci previously said the grounding would cost the airline around $150 million in the first-quarter. 

    “We’re going to hold Boeing’s feet to the fire to make sure we get good airplanes out of that factory,” Minicucci said in a call with analysts in January.

    Chief financial officer Shane Tackett also said in January that the carrier expected to be fully compensated for the first-quarter loss. 

    Minicucci had become a vocal critic of Boeing after the blowout, telling NBC News he was “angry” with the plane maker. The Alaska CEO was also part of a group of airline executives that lobbied for a leadership change, according to a report from The Air Current

    The FAA halted the production expansion of the 737 Max once the plane was brought back into service. Boeing has previously said it would work to strengthen its quality control after the Alaska blowout. 

    Boeing CEO Dave Calhoun is set to step down from the role at the end of the year.

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