Boeing is taking a “hard look” at quality practices in the wake of a unused door blowing off an Alaska Airlines B737 Max 9 aircraft.
The US manufacturer said it was taking “immediate actions” to bolster quality assurance and controls in 737 production.
Boeing Commercial Airplanes president and chief executive Stan Deal outlined the company’s response to employees yesterday (Monday) after the US aviation regulator grounded 737 Max’s with similar fuselage panels.
All 171 passengers and six crew aboard an Alaska Airlines flight from Portland to California escaped unharmed when part of the fuselage on a 737 Max 9 aircraft blew out at 16,000 feet on January 5.
Confirming the latest measures, Deal admitted that the company “was not where we need to be”.
He said: “As we continue to respond to the Alaska Airlines Flight 1282 accident, our team has been working with the five affected airlines to inspect their 737-9 fleet.
“They have been examining and collecting measurements around the mid-exit door plugs to ensure they are installed per specifications.
“While we complete these tasks to earn Federal Aviation Administration approval to unground the affected 737-9s, our team is also taking a hard look at our quality practices in our factories and across our production system.”
Deal added that have a team had been deployed work alongside Spirit AeroSystems to inspect Spirit’s installation of the mid-exit door plug and approving them before the fuselage section can be shipped to Boeing.
“We are also inspecting more than 50 other points in Spirit’s build process and assessing their build plans against engineering specifications,” he said.
“We are planning additional inspections throughout the build process at Boeing and at Spirit.
“These checks will provide one more layer of scrutiny on top of the thousands of inspections performed today across each 737 airplane.”
Deal told employees: “As we prepare new 737-9s for delivery, we will conduct the same thorough inspections of the mid-exit door plugs as mandated by the FAA. Customer representatives will continue to have access to anything they want to see onboard their airplane before delivery.
“These actions are separate from the FAA’s investigation and the agency’s plan to increase oversight of 737-9 production.
“We will cooperate fully and transparently with both as we work to restore trust with our regulator and our customers.
“And as the [US] National Transportation Safety Board’s investigation proceeds, we will take additional steps to improve our practices as the facts and findings dictate.”
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