Boeing changes quality control process

Boeing changes quality control process


Boeing said Monday it would make changes to quality control procedures after one of its 737 Max 9 jets lost a body part during a near-disastrous Alaska Airlines flight this month.

The plane maker said it would add additional inspections at its own factory and at the factory of Spirit AeroSystems, a key supplier that installs plugs for unused exhaust vents, one of which blew out during the Max 9 flight. Both companies will open their factories to greater scrutiny by inviting airlines that fly the 737 to inspect more of the manufacturing process. And Boeing will bring in an outside party to review its quality control program and suggest improvements.

On January 5, Alaska Airlines Flight 1282 was forced to make an emergency landing after a door plug burst, causing no serious injuries to those on board. The Federal Aviation Administration grounded all Max 9 planes and said it would expand its investigation of Boeing. Inspection of the planes led Boeing to conclude that its manufacturing practices needed improvement.

“The AS1282 accident and recent customer findings make it clear that we are not where we need to be,” Stan Deal, chief executive of Boeing’s commercial aircraft unit, said in a memo to employees on Monday. “To that end, we are taking immediate action to strengthen quality assurance and controls in our factories.”

Inspections so far include checking and measuring the door plug to make sure it is installed according to specifications. United Airlines, the largest operator of Max 9 planes, said it found some loose bolts during an initial inspection last week, and Alaska Airlines, the second-largest Max 9 operator, also said it found loose hardware in the area of ​​the door plugs. ,

The crash drew attention to Boeing’s quality control practices nearly five years after a pair of 737 Max crashes in Indonesia and Ethiopia, killing 346 people. The plane was banned globally for 20 months as lawmakers, regulators and journalists around the world investigated it and Boeing’s practices. Flights on the Max resumed in late 2020 after Boeing made changes to systems and components involved in the crashes.

The quality improvements Boeing announced Monday include eliminating thousands of existing inspections at both Boeing and Spirit, which builds the 737 Max fuselage in Wichita, Kan., and ships them to Washington state, where Boeing makes the planes. Assembles. Since 2019, Boeing has increased the number of quality inspectors by 20 percent, Mr. Deal said.

Boeing also said it had sent a team to Spirit AeroSystems to inspect the installation of the door plugs, which were approved before each fuselage was shipped to Boeing. Boeing is also inspecting 50 other points in Spirit’s manufacturing process.

In his message, Mr. Deal said Boeing is cooperating fully with the FAA and the National Transportation Safety Board, which is leading the investigation into the accident. He also reiterated the importance of Adhere to the standard of the company’s quality control program.

“Anything less than this is unacceptable,” he said. “It is through this standard that we must work to provide our customers and their passengers with complete confidence in Boeing airplanes. Let each of us take personal responsibility and recommit ourselves to this important work.



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