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.
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 Boeingworked to fix a significant design flaw that was blamed for the tragedies.
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