Updated Feb 28, 2024 - Business

FAA: Boeing must submit plan to fix "systemic quality-control issues"

The Alaska Airlines Boeing 737-9 MAX that suffered the door plug incident

The Alaska Airlines Boeing 737-9 MAX that suffered the door plug incident in January 2024. Photo: NTSB via Getty Images

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) announced Wednesday that Boeing has 90 days to create a plan to address its "systemic quality-control issues."

Why it matters: Boeing, one of the world's largest aerospace manufacturers, has been under intense scrutiny after one of its 737 MAX 9 jets experienced a mid-flight door plug blowout in January.

Driving the news: "Boeing must commit to real and profound improvements," FAA administrator Michael Whitaker said in a press release Wednesday laying out the timeline for Boeing to establish and submit an action plan.

  • The FAA is currently conducting an audit of Boeing's production and manufacturing quality systems, which is expected to be complete in the "coming weeks," per the release.
  • Boeing's action plan is expected to incorporate both the findings of the audit and the results of a recent review of Boeing's practices. That review raised concerns about how the company manages safety.

Boeing President and CEO Dave Calhoun said in a statement Wednesday that the company has "a clear picture of what needs to be done" and will develop the plan.

  • "Our Boeing leadership team is totally committed to meeting this challenge," he added.

The big picture: All Boeing 737 MAX 9 aircraft were temporarily grounded in U.S. territory after a "plugged" emergency exit door flew off during an Alaska Airlines flight in early January.

  • A federal watchdog said earlier this month that preliminary findings indicated that missing bolts likely contributed to the incident.
  • Subsequent inspections by airlines of Boeing's MAX 9 jets revealed quality control issues, including loose bolts. Boeing had urged airlines to inspect the jets for possible loose bolts back in December 2023.
  • The FAA vowed earlier this month to hold Boeing accountable for any possible safety violations.

Go deeper: What's going on with Boeing 737 Max 9 planes

Editor's note: This story was updated with a statement from Boeing's president and CEO.

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