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FAA Calls for Boeing Action Plan to Address Quality Issues

FAA demands action plan from Boeing after door flaw exposes safety concerns.

Stored 737 MAX aircraft await to fly at Paine Field. (Photo: AirlineGeeks | Katie Zera)

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) sharply criticized Boeing on Wednesday, demanding a comprehensive plan within 90 days to address “systemic quality-control issues” plaguing the aerospace giant. This comes after a series of incidents, including a mid-air emergency on a brand new 737 MAX 9, raised renewed concerns about Boeing’s safety culture and manufacturing processes.

“Boeing must commit to real and profound improvements,” Administrator Whitaker said following a meeting with Boeing Chief Executive Officer and President Dave Calhoun and his senior safety team on Tuesday. “Making foundational change will require a sustained effort from Boeing’s leadership, and we are going to hold them accountable every step of the way, with mutually understood milestones and expectations.”

This plan must address the findings of the ongoing FAA audit, incorporate the recently released expert review report, and outline concrete steps to improve Boeing’s Safety Management System (SMS). Notably, the plan should also integrate the SMS with a new Quality Management System, ensuring consistent oversight across Boeing’s supply chain and driving a measurable shift towards stricter quality control throughout manufacturing.

Series of Events Lead to FAA Criticism of Boeing

The FAA’s criticism stems from a string of recent events, starting with the January 5 tincident where a door plug detached from a new Alaska Airlines 737 MAX 9, forcing an emergency landing.  A preliminary report from the National Safety Transportation Board (NTSB) indicated that four key bolts were missing from the detached door plug. This revelation, coupled with Boeing’s production slowdown and regulatory scrutiny, has drawn the ire of airline industry executives and customers.

Administrator Whitaker visited the 737 production line in February to discuss quality control processes with employees and met with Alaska Airlines officials regarding a mid-flight door issue in January. Additionally, the FAA has halted production expansion of the MAX, is exploring the use of a third party to oversee Boeing, and is finalizing an enhanced oversight audit of their production and manufacturing systems incident following the release of a critical report earlier this week by an independent panel commissioned by the FAA in 2023. The report identified “inadequate and confusing implementation of the components of a positive safety culture” at Boeing.

Boeing Pledges Commitment to Address FAA Concerns

Boeing CEO Dave Calhoun, in a recent statement, emphasized the leadership team’s “total commitment” to addressing the FAA’s concerns and developing the plan. He added, “We have a clear picture of what needs to be done,” and stated Boeing’s commitment to creating a comprehensive action plan with measurable criteria, demonstrating the “profound change” demanded by the FAA.

Tolga Karadeniz

Authors

  • Tolga Karadeniz

    Tolga is a dedicated aviation enthusiast with years of experience in the industry. From an early age, his fascination with aviation went beyond a mere passion for travel, evolving into a deliberate exploration of the complex mechanics and engineering behind aircraft. As a writer, he aims to share insights , providing readers with a view into the complex inner workings of the aviation industry.

  • Ryan Ewing

    Ryan founded AirlineGeeks.com back in February 2013 and has amassed considerable experience in the aviation sector. His work has been featured in several publications and news outlets, including CNN, WJLA, CNET, and Business Insider. During his time in the industry, he's worked in roles pertaining to airport/airline operations while holding a B.S. in Air Transportation Management from Arizona State University along with an MBA. Ryan has experience in several facets of the industry from behind the yoke of a Cessna 172 to interviewing airline industry executives. Ryan works for AirlineGeeks' owner FLYING Media, spearheading coverage in the commercial aviation space.

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