Airline CEOs want meeting with Boeing after 737 Max blowout: report

MONEY & BUSINESS: Airline CEOs want meeting with Boeing after 737 Max blowout: report



A group of major US airline CEOs have reportedly requested a meeting with Boeing’s board to express concerns over production problems following near-disastrous fuselage blowout aboard an Alaska Airlines flight.

The airline chiefs want Boeing directors to spell out their plan for fixing quality problems at the aircraft maker as US regulators scrutinize the company following the Jan. 5 incident on a 737 MAX, people familiar with the matter told the Wall Street Journal on Thursday.

Boeing has responded by offering meetings with chairman Larry Kellner, a former chief executive of Continental Airlines, as well as other board members as early as next week, sources told the Journal.

Boeing CEO Dave Calhoun — who fought back tears while “acknowledging our mistake” that caused the blowout at 16,000 feet and led to an emergency landing — is reportedly encouraging the meetings, the Virginia-based aviation giant confirmed to the Journal.

Boeing CEO Dave Calhoun (left) has apologized for the door blowout and is reportedly endorsing the meeting between airline chiefs and Boeing’s board. Rod Lamkey / CNP / SplashNews.com

However, Calhoun isn’t expected to attend any of the planned meetings.

Though it wasn’t immediately clear which other airline bosses would be in attendance, Boeing’s 737 MAX jets are most widely used by Alaska Airlines, United Airlines and Southwest Airlines in the US.

These airlines have been the most impacted by the delays on many of Boeing’s more popular airliners.

The order backlogs are frustrating airline executives, who have started to cut routes and are trying to acquire additional aircraft to meet demand.

United said last month it was “deeply disappointed” with the production delays — which have affected the delivery of Boeing’s new Max 10 aircraft and have thrown a wrench in United’s 2024 growth projections.

The airline said it also plans to pause pilot hiring in May and June due to aircraft delivery delays from Boeing.

On Jan. 5, Alaska Airlines Flight 1282 experienced a door blowout at 16,000 feet. via REUTERS

Boeing directors are also expected to meet with the CEOs of the international carriers that use its planes in the coming weeks, according to the Journal.

Representatives for Boeing declined The Post’s request for comment.

The Federal Aviation Administration has demanded that Boeing develop “a comprehensive action plan to address its systemic quality-control issues” within 90 days.

By May 28, FAA Administrator Mike Whitaker is requiring that “Boeing must commit to real and profound improvements.”

Until then, the agency is probing Boeing’s 737 production process. Audits have revealed that it isn’t pretty.

The FAA has demanded that Boeing develop “a comprehensive action plan to address its systemic quality-control issues” within 90 days. REUTERS

While investigating Boeing supplier Spirit AeroSystems in response to the door plug blowout, the agency found that mechanics were using hotel key cards and liquid dish soap as makeshift tools to test compliance.

Dawn soap was being used “as a lubricant in the fit-up process,” while the hotel key card was used to check the door seal, per a presentation of the FAA’s findings obtained by the New York Times.

In all, Boeing failed 33 out of 89 product audits — a review of specific aspects in the production line — with a total of 97 counts of alleged noncompliance, the auditors found, according to the outlet.

Spirit AeroSystems, which makes the body of the 737 MAX jets, failed seven out of 13 product audits conducted by the FAA.



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