Boeing outlines plan to FAA for addressing safety and quality control concerns

As summer travel season takes off, Boeing said it is committed to make flying safer.

It comes after a midflight scare in January when a door plug flew off a months old Boeing 737 Max 9 plane.

Thursday, top officials from Boeing including its CEO met with Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) leaders in Washington, DC for three hours about its roadmap for fixing safety and quality control issues.

Both groups agree that this is only the start of new safety efforts.

“Bottom line we will continue to make sure every airplane that comes off the line is safe and reliable,” said Mike Whitaker, FAA Administrator.

Over the last three months, the company developed a new safety plan that aims to help identify hazards and reduce risks. The FAA required Boeing to provide an update on completed actions as well as mid- and long-term goals such as:

•              Strengthening its Safety Management System, including employee safety reporting

•              Simplifying processes and procedures and clarifying work instructions

•              Enhanced supplier oversight

•              Enhanced employee training and communication

•              Increased internal audits of production system

FAA leaders will also meet with Boeing weekly to review its progress.

“We’ve increased our oversight and Boeing on its own has reduced production levels to make sure they have the resources they need,” said Whitaker.

Boeing CEO Dave Calhoun said the company has increased training and improved inspections. It is also adding more oversight in its factories. Calhoun announced those plans during Boeing’s annual shareholder meeting earlier this month.

“We are deeply committed to doing everything that we can to make certain our regulators, our customers, employees and - most importantly and always - the flying public are 100% confident in Boeing,” said Calhoun.

Calhoun said the company is also listening to input from staff.

“We’re hosting quality stand downs to hear directly from our employees, and we’re committed to acting on their feedback at every step,” he said.

Earlier this month, Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg told our Washington News Bureau he wants Boeing’s culture to focus on safety.

“All of the other economic concerns production, profitability, all of that has to follow from safety and quality, not the other way around,” said Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg.

FAA leaders said Boeing has also agreed to strengthen its anonymous reporting system so employees can speak up freely about safety issues.

Full statements from Boeing leadership after FAA meeting:

Statement from Dave Calhoun, President and CEO, Boeing: “After the Jan. 5 accident involving a 737 airplane, we took immediate containment and mitigation actions to ensure airplane safety. We also made the decision to slow production as we took a hard look across every facet of our operations. We listened to our employees, engaged transparently with our regulator, welcomed the findings and recommendations from the FAA’s ACSAA panel review, and invited scrutiny from customers and independent experts. Based on that feedback and oversight, today we presented to the FAA our comprehensive plan to strengthen our safety management, quality system, safety culture and ODA responsibilities.

Many of these actions are underway and our team is committed to executing on each element of the plan. It is through this continuous learning and improvement process that our industry has made commercial aviation the safest mode of transportation. The actions we are taking today will further strengthen that foundation.

We thank Administrator Whitaker and the FAA team for their feedback today and we will continue to work under their oversight as we move forward.”

Statement from Stephanie Pope, President and CEO, Commercial Airplanes: “Our plan is built on the feedback of our employees who know best how to design, build and deliver safe, high-quality airplanes. We also incorporated the requirements and feedback from our regulator and welcomed the recommendations from our customers and industry experts.

Based on that feedback, our roadmap includes major investments to expand and enhance workforce training, simplify manufacturing plans and processes, eliminate defects at the source, and elevate our safety and quality culture, along with specific measures to monitor and manage the health of our production system.

We are confident in the plan that we have put forward and are committed to continuously improving. We will work under the FAA’s oversight and uphold our responsibility to the flying public to continue delivering safe, high-quality airplanes. We are also grateful for our customers’ patience as we implement this plan and return to predictable deliveries.”

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