Boeing given 90 days to produce ‘comprehensive’ safety action plan

Boeing has been ordered to produce an action plan within 90 days to fix quality problems and meet safety standards for building new aircraft.

The US Federal Aviation Administration imposed the deadline after meeting management from the manufacturer, including chief executive Dave Calhoun.

FAA administrator Mike Whitaker informed top Boeing officials that the company must develop a comprehensive action plan to address “systemic quality-control issues” to meet the regulator’s “non-negotiable” safety standards.

In an update on the grounding of Boeing 737 Max 9s, he said: “Boeing must commit to real and profound improvements.

“Making foundational change will require a sustained effort from Boeing’s leadership, and we are going to hold them accountable every step of the way, with mutually understood milestones and expectations.”

Whitaker added: “Boeing must take a fresh look at every aspect of their quality-control process and ensure that safety is the company’s guiding principle.”

He told Boeing that he expects the company to provide the FAA a comprehensive action plan within 90 days.

That will incorporate the forthcoming results of an FAA production-line audit and the latest findings from an expert review panel report, which found a safety “disconnect” at the company. 

The plan must also include steps Boeing will take to mature its safety management system (SMS) programme, which it committed to in 2019. 

Boeing also must integrate its SMS program with a quality management system, “which will ensure the same level of rigour and oversight is applied to the company’s suppliers and create a measurable, systemic shift in manufacturing quality control”.

The actions follow crashes involving Boeing 737s in 2018 and 2019 which killed 349 people and a panel blowing off an Alaska Airlines B737 Max 9 last month forcing an emergency landing on a US domestic flight.

Calhoun said in response to the announcement: “By virtue of our quality stand-downs, the FAA audit findings and the recent expert review panel report, we have a clear picture of what needs to be done. 

“Transparency prevailed in all of these discussions. 

“Boeing will develop the comprehensive action plan with measurable criteria that demonstrates the profound change that Administrator Whitaker and the FAA demand. 

“Our Boeing leadership team is totally committed to meeting this challenge.”

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