On Tuesday, around 11:30 a.m., a United Airlines Boeing 737 MAX experienced a tire blowout while landing at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport (SEA). The issue happened on board flight UA450, a Boeing 737 MAX 9 that was being flown by the airline and had just under four hours since takeoff from Chicago O’Hare International Airport (ORD).
There were 176 passengers and six crew members on board; however, no injuries were reported. The passengers may have had to wait on the plane for up to two hours after landing before buses came to transport them to the terminal building, according to sources.
At the time of writing, the airplane is still on the ground in Seattle, almost 12 hours after the event. It has subsequently been hauled away for repairs. The 737 MAX 9 proceeded off the runway and onto one of the taxiways at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport after the tire burst, so no other flights at the airport had any operational delays as a result.
Competition on the Chicago-Seattle route
Between its hub in Chicago and Seattle, United Airlines has three daily flights, two of which are operated by 737-900ER aircraft and one by a 737 MAX 9. Alaska Airlines, American Airlines, and Delta Air Lines compete with the carrier on the seventh-busiest domestic route from Seattle. Seattle and Southwest Airlines’ hub at Chicago Midway International Airport (MDW) are connected via flights as well.
The N37507-registered 737 MAX 9 that was involved in the incident on Tuesday was brand new when the aircraft was delivered to United Airlines in September 2018. The aircraft has previously operated flight UA238 from Cleveland (CLE) to Chicago, according to data from flight tracking website FlightRadar24.com. It stayed on the ground in Chicago for more than two hours before taking off for Seattle at 9:46 a.m.
United Airlines and the Boeing 737 MAX
United Airlines presently has 74 737 MAX 9s in its fleet, each of which seats 179 passengers in a two-class layout (20 in business class and 159 in economy), according to ch-aviation.com. United Airlines is now the second-largest operator of the 737 MAX series, after Southwest Airlines, with a total of 63 737 MAX 8s. The carrier will become the 737 MAX 10’s debut client when it begins receiving the first of 294 aircraft in 2019.
On Tuesday, United Airlines made news when it announced a sizable order for 110 aircraft, including 50 787s and 60 A321neos from Airbus. As part of the carrier’s ongoing fleet modernization effort, the aircraft will arrive between 2028 and 2031 and replace the carrier’s outdated 757s and 767s. For instance, the 767-300ER aircraft operated by United Airlines had an average age of 27.6 years.
Have you ever had a tire blowout or another similar mishap while traveling? How did the airline handle the situation? Did it interfere with your travel plans? Post a comment below to let us know.