A Boeing 737 Max with an engine problem made a safe emergency landing in Florida, the US Federal Aviation Administration said yesterday.
The Max, one of hundreds worldwide grounded after two fatal crashes, was being ferried to California, where Southwest Airlines is storing its planes while they are out of action.
The Southwest crew declared an emergency after taking off from Orlando at about 2.50pm on Tuesday.
The 737 Max was grounded in the US on March 13 after 157 people died in a crash involving one of the planes in Ethiopia on March 10.
It was the second fatal crash involving the aeroplane in five months. Last October, 189 people were killed in a crash in Indonesia.
US airlines are allowed to shuttle the planes but cannot carry passengers. The FAA says it is investigating the Florida incident but the emergency was not related to anti-stall software that is suspected as a cause of the two fatal crashes.
Airport spokeswoman Carolyn Fennell says one of the airport’s three runways was shut down for cleaning after the landing.
She explained it is standard procedure to check a runway for debris after an emergency landing. It was not clear if any parts actually fell off the plane.
The other two runways remained open, and normal operations were not affected.
Southwest said the plane’s pilots reported a “performance issue” with an engine shortly after taking off for Victorville, California.
The Max 8 jet is now being moved to Southwest’s Orlando maintenance facility to be checked, a company statement added.