Boeing promises big changes as the plane maker looks to rebuild trust and quality

boeing promises big changes as the plane maker looks to rebuild trust and quality

The Federal Aviation Administration says it will continue to hold Boeing accountable after reviewing "the company’s roadmap to fix its systemic safety and quality-control issues." The 90-day review follows the in-flight door plug blowout on an Alaska Airlines 737 Max in January. Boeing finishes final assembly of its jets at at its facility in Renton, Wash. Jovelle Tamayo for NPR hide caption

toggle caption Jovelle Tamayo for NPR

WASHINGTON -- Boeing is promising sweeping changes to its manufacturing operations as the troubled plane maker tries to rebuild trust with federal regulators, airlines and the flying public.

It’s been just over 90 days since the Federal Aviation Administration ordered Boeing to come up with a comprehensive plan to fix its quality control problems after a door plug panel blew off a new 737 Max jet in midair.

Boeing leaders, including CEO Dave Calhoun, presented the final plan in a meeting with FAA officials in Washington on Thursday morning.

"We reviewed Boeing’s roadmap to set a new standard of safety and underscored that they must follow through on corrective actions and effectively transform their safety culture,” said FAA administrator Mike Whitaker in a statement. “We will make sure they do and that their fixes are effective. This does not mark the end of our increased oversight of Boeing and its suppliers, but it sets a new standard of how Boeing does business.”

No one was seriously injured in the midair blowout on Alaska Airlines Flight 1282 in January. But the incident renewed serious concerns about safety and quality control at Boeing after the deadly crashes of two 737 Max jets in 2018 and 2019 that killed a total of 346 people.

A preliminary investigation by the National Transportation Safety Board determined that four key bolts that were supposed to hold the door plug in place were missing when the plane left Boeing's factory.

The incident prompted the FAA to undertake a six-week audit of Boeing’s production lines. Regulators say they found quality control problems at Boeing and Spirit AeroSystems, one of its top suppliers, which builds the fuselage for the 737.

The Alaska Airlines blowout also triggered a management shakeup at Boeing. Several top executives in the commercial aviation division left the company, and CEO Dave Calhoun announced he would step down at the end of the year.

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