Blinken Stranded After Boeing Jet Breaks Down

( – The World Economic Forum held its annual meeting in Davos, Switzerland, from January 15 through 19. Secretary of State Antony Blinken traveled to the Alpine country to attend the gathering’s opening ceremonies, deliver a speech stressing American concerns amid mounting global conflict and economic disruption, and departed on the 17th. However, a recent report indicated the secretary experienced a bit of turbulence on the tarmac due to a mechanical issue with his Boeing jet that temporarily delayed his flight.

BBC News reported that Blinken and his aides boarded their airplane as scheduled. However, officials forced the delegation to deplane after a “critical failure” occurred due to an oxygen leak.

Defense Department Spokesperson Matthew Miller discussed the incident during his daily press briefing later that day. He confirmed that Blinken’s plane experienced a mechanical issue. Miller advised that the US Air Force had dispatched another plane to pick up the secretary in Zurich. Miller also told reporters that although Blinken’s return to Washington was delayed by several hours, the situation didn’t disrupt any of his scheduled meetings abroad.

An Air Force spokesperson talked to Axios about the incident. She confirmed that the jet that broke down was a Boeing C-40 Clipper, the military model of the twin-engine, 121-seat Boeing 737 Next Generation aircraft. She also advised that the plane was assigned to Joint Base Andrews in Prince George’s County, Maryland.

Boeing jets operated by the US military and commercial airlines have recently experienced several incidents. For instance, a door plug blew out on an Alaska Airlines jet cruising at 16,000 feet shortly after takeoff on January 6. Chaos ensued, and the incident left a gaping tear in the side of the Boeing 737 Max 9 aircraft, forcing the flight crew to make an emergency landing.

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) subsequently ordered the immediate inspection of all Boeing 737 Max 9s flown by US-based airlines or operated in American air space by foreign carriers. The FAA advised that its directive impacted about 172 aircraft.

On January 17, the FAA announced the launch of an investigation into “Boeing’s manufacturing practices and production lines.” The federal agency also advised that all Max 9s with door plugs would remain grounded pending its review and final approval of Boeing’s maintenance and inspection procedures.

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