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Blinken switches planes from Boeing 737 after critical failure

The press pool reported others in Secretary of State Antony Blinken's group were put on commercial flights as he was switched to a smaller plane.
Blinken switches planes from Boeing 737 after critical failure
Posted at 3:57 PM, Jan 17, 2024
and last updated 2024-01-17 17:57:30-05

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken had to switch planes on his return to Washington from a trip to Davos, Switzerland after the plane scheduled to carry the secretary of state and his group back to the U.S. suffered what was called a critical failure. 

Others in Blinken's group were put on commercial flights while he was switched to a smaller plane, according to reports from the traveling press pool. 

State Department spokesperson Matt Miller confirmed during a press conference that the Air Force sent the replacement plane.

Blinken and others had boarded a Boeing 737 jet in Zurich on Wednesday when they were warned of the issue and had to deplane, reports said. 

A spokesperson for the Air Force said the plane is a modified Boeing C-40 U.S. Air Force plane assigned to Joint Base Andrews. 

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Bloomberg reported that a previously detected oxygen leak rendered the jet unsafe to fly and said Blinken was left stranded for a period of time, but reports said Blinken's meeting schedule was not disrupted. 

The Air Force confirmed in a statement that the plane with a malfunction was not a 737 Max. 

Boeing says C-40 planes are in use at five U.S. air bases which are maintained by the U.S. Naval Reserve. 

The Federal Aviation Administration grounded Boeing 737 Max 9 jets on Jan. 6 until "enhanced inspections" could be carried out and completed. The move came after loose bolts were discovered on plugged exit doors for multiple planes. 

The inspections were prompted after a Boeing jetliner suffered an inflight blowout of an exit door while flying over Oregon. Alaska Airlines CEO Ben Minicucci said in a statement released on Wednesday he "sincerely" apologizes to the passengers on that flight. 

While this latest issue with a Boeing plane is yet another bad headline for the company, it doesn't appear to be specifically related to ongoing issues with 737 Max 9 jets. 

In 2018 in Indonesia a 737 Max 8 jet crashed, and then in early 2019 another 737 Max 8 jet crashed in Ethiopia. Over 300 people on both flights were killed, which sparked a 20-month grounding of the model as Boeing worked to fix a significant design flaw that was blamed for the tragedies. 


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