FAA's Mike Whitaker Says Boeing Needs More Time to Address Safety Issues

By Trisha Andrada

May 24, 2024 06:17 AM EDT

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Mike Whitaker, head of the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), warned Boeing on Thursday, May 23, that it still has a long way to go before convincing regulators that it has sufficiently addressed production safety issues.

After a door plug fell off a 737 MAX-9 mid-flight on an Alaska Airlines flight in January, the FAA issued Boeing a 90-day ultimatum to create a thorough plan to fix quality-control deficiencies. Next Thursday, May 30, is when Boeing is expected to present the plan.

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Beginning of the Process

In an interview with ABC News, Whitaker said the agency has been working closely with Boeing on the strategy since February to help the aircraft maker increase factory quality to an acceptable level. He explained that the goal is to improve the safety system and foster an environment where workers feel comfortable raising concerns.

However, even after outlining Boeing's strategy, Whitaker stressed that this is only the beginning of the process. "It's going to be a long road to get going back where they need to be making safe airplanes."

Last week, outgoing CEO Dave Calhoun said that working on the quality action plan was their first order of business after establishing contact with the FAA. He expressed his expectation that the FAA would thoroughly examine the proposal and ensure that the firm adheres to the established control parameters.

"This is more of a beginning than it is an end," Calhoun also said in his remarks, as Fox Business reported.

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