Independent advisor to lead ‘in-depth’ Boeing quality review

Boeing has drafted in an independent advisor to lead an “in-depth” quality review in the wake of an unused door falling off an Alaska Airlines B737 Max 9.

The disclosure from the company came as Ryanair revealed it had been asked to send extra engineers to oversee quality checks of its aircraft “on the ground” following the incident.

Chief executive Michael O’Leary told the BBC that Boeing quality was improving but the incident had shown there was “more to be done”.

Ryanair does not have 737 Max 9s in its fleet aircraft but operates the Max 8 variant and has Max 10s on order.

The airline is one of Boeing’s biggest customers for the 737 Max family, with more than 100 in service and due to have some 400 more by 2034.

O’Leary said that he expects delivery delays to affect its capacity.

Boeing named former US navy Admiral Kirkland Donald to conduct a thorough assessment of its quality management system for commercial aircraft, leading a team of outside experts.

His recommendations will be provided to chief executive Dave Calhoun and to the aerospace safety committee of Boeing’s board of directors.

Calhoun said: “Admiral Donald is a recognised leader in ensuring the integrity of some of the most complex and consequential safety and quality systems in the world. 

“I’ve asked him to provide an independent and comprehensive assessment with actionable recommendations for strengthening our oversight of quality in our own factories and throughout our extended commercial airplane production system.”

The US Federal Aviation Administration last week announced “new and significant actions” to immediately increase its oversight of Boeing production and manufacturing after ordering the grounding of 171 Boeing 737-9 Max aircraft.

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