The Boeing 90 day executive summary to the FAA: An analysis

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By the Leeham News Team

June 3, 2024, © Leeham News:  Boeing and the Federal Aviation Administration last week released summaries of the company’s plan to fix its safety shortcomings following the Jan. 5 accident of Alaska Airlines Flight 1282.

That’s the day a 10-week-old 737-9 MAX saw a door plug blow out at 16,000 ft on take-off from Portland (OR). Nobody died but there were some injuries and damage throughout the cabin and the cockpit occurred. The flight crew made an emergency landing at Portland.

Following this accident, the FAA on Feb. 29 gave Boeing 90 days to come up with yet another plan to address safety and production failures. (Boeing developed plans after the 2018/19 737-8 MAX crashes that killed 346 people.)

In a three-hour meeting on May 31, Boeing CEO David Calhoun and other senior executives outline its latest plan. The FAA’s press release afterward largely was a reaffirmation that it will hold Boeing’s feet to the fire until it is satisfied the safety culture at Boeing changes. There is no timeline for Boeing to implement changes—at least none that was announced.

Boeing released an 11-page Executive Summary that largely outlined steps it has taken to improve safety, and which ones continue. The detailed PowerPoint presentation given to the FAA was not released. Through a spokesperson, the FAA declined to make FAA Administrator Mike Whitaker available for an interview.

A key element of the go-forward plan is a requirement by the FAA that a voluntary Safety Management System (SMS) is now mandatory.

The FAA and Boeing statements released last week drew immediate criticism for lack of detail, repetitive nature of steps already taken, and—given the steps taken in 2019 and 2020—why this is necessary today.

LNA’s news team, which includes former Boeing employees whose duties included safety, reviewed the information announced last week. This is the analysis.

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