FAA Issues 90-Day Ultimatum to Boeing: Quality Control Overhaul Demanded After 737 Max Door Mishap

By John Lopez

Feb 28, 2024 01:20 PM EST

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has recently issued a stern directive to Boeing, demanding a comprehensive overhaul of its quality control measures within 90 days. This ultimatum comes in the wake of a troubling incident involving a Boeing 737 Max aircraft.

The FAA's demand for action follows an alarming event where a door plug blew out of a 737 Max during a recent Alaska Airlines flight. Investigators found that crucial bolts securing the door panel were missing, highlighting serious lapses in Boeing's production process.

(Photo : Photo by PATRICK T. FALLON/AFP via Getty Images)
The missing emergency door of Alaska Airlines N704AL, a 737 Max 9, which made an emergency landing at Portland International Airport on January 5 is covered and taped, in Portland, Oregon on January 23, 2024. One of two door plugs on the emergency exit door blew out shortly after the plane took off from Portland. No fatalities or injuries were reported. The US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) announced January 11 it was launching a safety probe into Boeing's quality control. (Photo by Patrick T. Fallon / AFP)

FAA Gives Boeing 90-Day Ultimatum for Quality Control Overhaul

FAA Administrator Mike Whitaker emphasized the urgency for Boeing to implement "real and profound improvements" to ensure safety standards are met. Whitaker underscored the importance of holding Boeing's leadership accountable throughout the process.

"Boeing must take a fresh look at every aspect of their quality-control process and ensure that safety is the company's guiding principle," Administrator Whitaker said.  

Boeing has been given a tight timeline of 90 days to develop a comprehensive action plan to address systemic quality control issues. 

According to the FAA, the plan ought to incorporate the results of the upcoming FAA production-line audit as well as the most recent conclusions from the expert review panel report, as required by the Aircraft Certification, Safety, and Accountability Act of 2020.   

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Boeing's Response

In response to the FAA's directive, Boeing has committed to maturing its Safety Management System (SMS) program and integrating it with a Quality Management System. This integration aims to ensure a consistent level of rigor and oversight across Boeing's manufacturing operations.

The FAA's decision to halt Boeing's planned ramp-up of 737 Max production underscores the severity of the situation. This move signifies the FAA's resolve to prioritize safety over expediency.

Boeing CEO Dave Calhoun and other top executives met with FAA officials in Washington to discuss the directive. The meeting reflects the seriousness with which both Boeing and the FAA are approaching the issue.

FAA's enhanced oversight audit of Boeing's production and manufacturing quality systems is nearing completion. Additionally, an investigation into Boeing's alleged noncompliance with safety standards is underway.

The FAA is also exploring the possibility of utilizing a third-party entity to oversee Boeing's operations, further emphasizing the need for transparency and accountability.

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