FAA gives Boeing 90 days to develop plan to address 'quality-control' issues

This comes just a week after Boeing replaced the head of its 737 Max program

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) announced Wednesday that it is giving Boeing 90 days to develop a comprehensive action plan that will address "systemic quality-control issues." 

FAA Administrator Mike Whitaker said the airplane manufacturer – still reeling from an incident involving a Max 9 jet that lost a door plug mid-flight earlier this year – "must commit to real and profound improvements." 

Whitaker informed top Boeing officials, including CEO Dave Calhoun, of the agency's demands during a safety discussion at FAA headquarters in Washington on Tuesday.

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"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 said. 

Boeing Sign

The Boeing Co. manufacturing facility in Renton, Washington, on Sunday, Jan. 7, 2024. (Photographer: David Ryder/Bloomberg via Getty Images / Getty Images)

It has been exactly a week since Boeing replaced the head of its 737 Max program at the company's Renton, Washington, facility. 

Elizabeth Lund, senior vice president and general manager of Airplane Programs, was appointed to a newly created role that will focus on quality control initiatives. 

BOEING EXEC OUT AFTER 737 MAX DOOR PLUG FAILURE

These are just some of the leadership changes the company made a month after a Max 9, operated by Alaska Airlines, had a door plug blow out at 16,000 feet after taking off from Portland International Airport in Oregon.  

In a preliminary report, the National Transportation Safety Board discovered four key bolts missing from the door plug that fell off the jet.

NTSB official analyzes Alaska Airlines blowout

Investigator-in-Charge John Lovell examines the fuselage plug area of Alaska Airlines Flight 1282 Boeing 737-9 MAX. (NTSB / Fox News)

The incident resulted in an almost immediate temporary nationwide grounding of all Max 9s with door plugs. The FAA simultaneously ramped up oversight of the company and its suppliers, including announcing that Boeing would not be granted any production expansion of the Max for the time being. 

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Whitaker said the report due in 90 days will "incorporate the forthcoming results of the FAA production-line audit and the latest findings from the expert review panel report.   

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Federal officials said the plan must also include measures the company will take "to mature its Safety Management System (SMS) program, which it committed to in 2019." 

It must also "integrate its SMS program with a Quality Management System, which will ensure the same level of rigor and oversight is applied to the company’s suppliers and create a measurable, systemic shift in manufacturing quality control," the FAA said.