Boeing to withdraw Max 7 exemption request as safety scrutiny intensifies


However, AerCap CEO Aengus Kelly dismissed talk of a leadership change.

“They’re under no illusions about the severity of the situation,” Mr Kelly told Reuters on the sidelines of the conference.

Before the Alaska accident, Boeing was expected to release a new financial and delivery target for 2024 and provide an update on its forecast for 2025-26, the timeframe in which the planemaker’s operations were expected to stabilise.

Boeing had previously projected free cash flow of about US$10 billion (S$13.4 billion) by 2025 or 2026, with 737 production expected to reach 50 jets per month.

That is now in question after the FAA on Jan 24 announced it would not approve further production rate increases for the 737 Max series.

The company’s projections now will be delivered with a cloud over the management’s head, with an influential industry leader saying in Dublin that the regulatory scrutiny will get worse if its record going forward is not flawless.

If there is one more significant problem “the FAA will stop (737) production”, Air Lease executive chairman Steven Udvar-Hazy told reporters at the conference.

The door plug that blew out is present on most 737 Max 9 planes, in place of an exit airlines could have added if they wanted a greater number of seats.

Trade publication The Air Current last week reported that the door plug on the affected Max 9 reached Boeing’s factory from Spirit AeroSystems with bolts installed, but that the planemaker reopened it to give access to nearby rivets that had been mis-installed by Spirit.

Spirit and Boeing referred queries on the probe to the NTSB. The agency’s chair Jennifer Homendy said on Jan 18 it was too early to say if the root cause of the blowout was missing or mis-installed bolts.

In a letter to Mr Calhoun reviewed by Reuters on Monday, New York state comptroller Thomas DiNapoli requested the CEO provide details on the short- and long-term steps necessary to “ameliorate” immediate quality and safety issues, and asked about the role of Boeing’s board in overseeing the current crisis.

Mr DiNapoli had asked Boeing: “How will you restore confidence among your customers and the flying public?“

Boeing did not immediately respond to a request for comments.

Despite the public support for Boeing’s leadership at the Dublin conference, several delegates and industry officials said privately that questions remained over the future of Boeing’s management.

“Behind the scenes, everyone is livid,” a person familiar with lessor discussions with Boeing said.

In response, Boeing referred to comments made by Boeing Commercial Airplanes president Stan Deal in a message to employees on Friday.

“Our long-term focus is on improving our quality so that we can regain the confidence of our customers, our regulator and the flying public,” he said.

“We own these issues and will make them right.” REUTERS



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