In a span of a few months, Boeing Co. has encountered a string of quality issues, including incorrectly drilled holes, unsecured rudder bolts, and a newly delivered aircraft experiencing a mid-flight fuselage section ejection. These incidents pose a risk to the reputation of the leading U.S. commercial plane manufacturer, particularly concerning its vital revenue-generating 737 Max aircraft.
On the evening of January 5, a critical event unfolded as a door-shaped panel was torn off during the ascent of an Alaska Airlines 737 Max 9 in Portland, Oregon. Responding swiftly, authorities grounded 171 of the variant, including the complete U.S. fleet of 737 Max 9s, within 24 hours, as per a report by Bloomberg. Despite the absence of serious injuries, authorities credited luck for averting a potential tragedy.
Boeing CEO Dave Calhoun faces another setback as the Alaska Air incident disrupts his efforts to stabilize the company in a pivotal turnaround year. Still grappling with the aftermath of the 737 Max crashes, Boeing's strained ties with major supplier Spirit AeroSystems Holdings Inc. now face renewed scrutiny. Amid a worsening crisis, Boeing CEO Calhoun canceled the annual leadership retreat and called for an all-hands meeting at the 737 factory on Tuesday. The meeting aims to address the recent incident, focusing on Boeing's efforts for safety and transparency.
Boeing is responding to the Alaska Max 9 incident by investigating the cause and preparing a message for multiple operators, outlining required inspections before resuming much of the Max 9 fleet.
Backing the grounding, the company stays in close contact with regulators and customers while its technical team aids the ongoing investigation. In charge since early 2020, CEO Calhoun had previously warned about the anticipated challenges on the journey to a better futurepath.