Boeing Co. Chief Executive Officer Dave Calhoun, visibly emotional, addressed Boeing employees during a companywide meeting at the 737 aircraft factory near Seattle, acknowledging the gravity of the recent safety incident involving Alaska Airlines. The incident, where a door plug ejected from a 737 Max 9 mid-flight, has prompted regulatory action and raised questions about Boeing’s manufacturing quality.
Calhoun fought back tears as he emphasized the need for Boeing to take ownership of its shortcomings, stating, “We’re going to approach this — No. 1 — acknowledging our mistake.” The incident has resulted in the grounding of 171 Boeing 737 Max 9 aircraft by US regulators for inspections.
During the meeting, Calhoun expressed the personal impact of the incident, saying, “I’ve got kids, I’ve got grandkids and so do you,” as he recalled seeing photographs of the damaged fuselage. The emotional response highlighted the seriousness with which Boeing is approaching the situation.
Boeing Commercial Airplanes CEO Stan Deal and Chief Safety Officer Mike Delaney also spoke at the presentation, reinforcing the company’s commitment to safety. Delaney, who played a crucial role during a previous crisis involving the 737 Max, will lead the decision-making process for allowing the Max 9 to fly again.
The incident has added pressure on Boeing as it seeks to recover from previous quality issues and rebuild its image after the 737 Max crashes and subsequent grounding. Calhoun acknowledged the need for transparent communication with customers to reassure them, stating that “moments like this shake them to the bone.”
Alaska Air Group Inc. and United Airlines Holdings Inc. have reported finding loose bolts in other 737 Max 9 jets, leading to a broader grounding and inspection order by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). The FAA stated that Boeing is revising instructions for checks, delaying the formal inspections until deemed safe.
The incident has triggered concerns among airline chiefs, including Ryanair Holdings Plc’s Michael O’Leary and Emirates’ Tim Clark, urging Boeing to raise quality standards. National Transportation Safety Board Chair Jennifer Homendy indicated the possibility of broadening the probe, intensifying scrutiny on Boeing’s manufacturing processes.
Boeing’s shares experienced a modest rebound after two days of losses, but the incident has raised reputational challenges. The emotional response from Calhoun underscores the significance of the situation as Boeing navigates this potential reputational minefield.
The meeting also revealed the cancellation of an annual offsite retreat for senior executives in response to the incident. Boeing Chairman Larry Kellner and board member David Joyce were present, emphasizing the collective commitment to address safety concerns and rebuild trust in the company’s products.
Sources By Agencies