During the stand down, employees will attend quality workshops and “pause, evaluate what we’re doing, how we’re doing it and make recommendations for improvement,” said Boeing Commercial Airplanes President Stan Deal
Boeing will hold a quality stand down on Jan 25 at the Seattle-area location where it makes 737 aircraft, pausing production and delivery operations for a day, the company announced on Jan 23.
During the stand down, employees will attend quality workshops and “pause, evaluate what we’re doing, how we’re doing it and make recommendations for improvement,” said Boeing Commercial Airplanes President Stan Deal.
The first stand down will occur at the Renton, Washington-area factory where the 737 is built. All other Boeing commercial production facilities and fabrication sites will have stand downs over the next few weeks, Boeing said.
Meanwhile, the Federal Aviation Administration’s top official said the agency may expand its probe of Boeing Co.’s manufacturing practices beyond the 737 Max assembly operations if it finds evidence of problems elsewhere at the planemaker.
For now, the agency is focused on the mid-cabin door plugs on Max 9 aircraft like the one that blew off an Alaska Airlines flight shortly after takeoff on Jan. 5, according to FAA Administrator Mike Whitaker. Airlines have reported finding loose bolts in their fleets of Max 9s after they were grounded by the agency following the accident.
“Boeing manufactures a number of aircraft, so we’re going to look at the Max, but we’ll also look at the company systemically to see whether these issues run elsewhere,” Whitaker said in an interview. “It depends on where the evidence leads us.”
Boeing announced it would hold sessions with workers on Jan 16 as part of a larger list of actions it is taking after the grounding of a portion of the 737 Max 9 fleet earlier this month following a mid-air cabin panel blowout on an Alaska Airlines jet.
Boeing chief executive officer Dave Calhoun will meet US senators to answer questions about the 737 Max 9 grounding, as executives for longtime customer United Airlines raised questions over billions of dollars of orders for Max 10 jets.
Mr Calhoun is set to hold meetings starting on Jan 24 on Capitol Hill. He is scheduled to meet Senators Ted Cruz, Mark Warner and Maria Cantwell, who chairs the Commerce Committee. Last week, she said she plans to hold a hearing after the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) grounded 171 Max 9 airplanes.
Ms Cantwell and Mr Cruz held a closed-door briefing last week on the grounding with FAA Administrator Mike Whitaker and National Transportation Safety Board Chair Jennifer Homendy.
Numerous lawmakers on Capitol Hill have questioned Boeing. The company told Senators Ed Markey, JD Vance and Peter Welch in a previously unreported Jan 17 letter that it was working to “restore trust with out regulators and our customers”.
United Airlines CEO Scott Kirby said on Jan 23 that the airline, which has ordered 277 Max 10 jets with options for another 200, would build a new fleet plan that does not include a model already mired in regulatory and delivery delays.
The FAA grounded most of Boeing’s Max 9 jets for checks after a plug replacing an unused exit door tore off an Alaska Airlines jet on Jan 5, forcing an emergency landing.
Industry watchers have been seeking concrete signs that Boeing’s woes with the Max 9 and the legacy of earlier Max safety groundings are undermining support for the larger Max 10, which makes up more than a fifth of outstanding Max orders.
“I think the Max 9 grounding is probably the straw that broke the camel’s back for us,” Mr Kirby said in an interview with CNBC on Jan 23.
The Max 10 does not have the same kind of door-plug system as the Max 9, but the grounding has raised concerns that the incident could delay regulatory approval and delivery of the Max 10, as well as temper broader plans for higher production.
Alaska Airlines CEO Ben Minicucci said the airline found “some loose bolts on many” Max 9s during inspections in an interview with NBC News that aired on Jan 23. The FAA is still reviewing data from inspections of an initial group of 40 planes and has not said when it may allow the grounded Max 9 jets to resume flights.
The FAA on Jan 21 urged operators of 737-900ER planes with door plugs to immediately inspect them after some airlines had noted “findings with bolts” during maintenance inspections.