737-9 on the ground 737-9 on the ground

Updates on Alaska Airlines flight 1282 and the 737-9

Latest information can be found here.

Boeing continues to support the U.S. NTSB and FAA investigations of the Jan. 5 accident. Below are the latest updates and information on the company’s actions.

Our commitment to safety and transparency

Boeing President and CEO Dave Calhoun to all employees on the importance of safety, accountability and transparency.

Updates

Boeing appreciates the U.S. National Transportation Safety Board’s work and will review their findings expeditiously. And we will continue to cooperate fully and transparently with the NTSB and the FAA investigations.

Boeing President and CEO Dave Calhoun said, “Whatever final conclusions are reached, Boeing is accountable for what happened. An event like this must not happen on an airplane that leaves our factory. We simply must do better for our customers and their passengers. We are implementing a comprehensive plan to strengthen quality and the confidence of our stakeholders. It will take significant, demonstrated action and transparency at every turn – and that is where we are squarely focused.”

Boeing is taking immediate action to strengthen quality. First, the company has implemented a control plan to ensure all 737-9 mid-exit door plugs are installed according to specifications:

  • Instituted new inspections of the door plug assembly and similar structures at our supplier’s factory and on Boeing’s production line.
  • Added signage and protocol to fully document when the door plug is opened or removed in our factory, ensuring it is reinstalled and inspected prior to delivery.

Moreover, Boeing is implementing plans to improve overall quality and stability across the 737 production system, including:

  • Layering additional inspections further into the supply chain and collaborating with suppliers on production enhancements.
  • Performing more work on airplanes at their assigned positions.
  • Dedicating multiple days for our 737 teams to focus on and implement quality improvements.
  • Launching an independent assessment to bolster the quality management system at Boeing Commercial Airplanes by a highly experienced safety expert.

In addition to these Boeing actions, we are opening our factory to 737 customers to conduct their own additional reviews, and will fully and transparently support the FAA’s investigation, audit and oversight actions.

“This added scrutiny – from ourselves, from our regulator and from our customers – will make us better. It’s that simple,” said Calhoun.  

In a message to employees, Boeing Commercial Airplanes President and CEO Stan Deal said the 737 program will spend several days in the Renton factory to focus on quality, including inspecting some undelivered airplanes for a potential nonconformance prior to delivery.

"In our drive to strengthen quality across Commercial Airplanes, your voice is critical. We asked you and everyone across our production system to speak up. Thanks to all those who have raised concerns and offered ideas.

I want to share a few updates based on the employee feedback. Key among them, the 737 program is going to dedicate several days in the Renton factory this week to focus on this important work, reflecting the premium we place on quality, safety and, ultimately, stability in our factories.

Flagging a potential issue
This past Thursday, a supplier notified us of a nonconformance in some 737 fuselages. I want to thank an employee at the supplier who flagged to his manager that two holes may not have been drilled exactly to our requirements. While this potential condition is not an immediate flight safety issue and all 737s can continue operating safely, we currently believe we will have to perform rework on about 50 undelivered airplanes.

While this issue could delay some near-term 737 deliveries, this is the only course of action given our commitment to deliver perfect airplanes every time. The days we are setting aside in the 737 program will allow time for our teams to complete the inspections and, if needed, perform the necessary rework.

Stopping travelled work
During the Quality Stand Down on the 737 program, many employees voiced frustration with travelled work and how unfinished jobs – either from our suppliers or within our factories – can ripple through the production line. These employees are absolutely right. We need to perform jobs at their assigned position.

We have to maintain this discipline within our four walls and we are going to hold our suppliers to the same standard. We recently instructed a major supplier to hold shipments until all jobs have been completed to specification. While this delay in shipment will affect our production schedule, it will improve overall quality and stability.

We will take advantage of the days in the factory so that our teams can catch up on unfinished jobs across all 737 factory positions. This is what we mean when we say that we will go slow to get it right. Work on the ramp, the flight line and the Seattle Delivery Center will continue as planned.

Implementing improvement ideas
737 program employees submitted more than 1,000 improvement ideas during the Quality Stand Down. Elizabeth Lund and her team have been sorting through the feedback and prioritizing the ideas that can and should be implemented right away.

As an example, the 737 program has set up a team to expedite the purchase of new tools so that all of our teams have the necessary equipment to perform installation work. The program has also ordered additional stands to improve ease of access to certain areas of the airplane.

There are more ideas that need to be refined before they can be put into action. Our teams will use the several days this week to workshop the ideas and try them out on the factory floor.

All of these updates emerged from employees on the front lines. Please continue to speak up and bring to life our core values of safety, quality and transparency as we work to deliver perfect airplanes to our customers."

As the company reported year-end results, Dave Calhoun, Boeing president and CEO, focused his comments to analysts on the 737-9 and the immediate and comprehensive actions being taken to strengthen quality across our commercial airplane programs and within the supply chain. Listen here:

Boeing President and CEO Dave Calhoun shared the following message with all employees today as the company reported year-end 2023 results.

"While we report our fourth-quarter and full-year 2023 results today, my focus remains on the Alaska Airlines Flight 1282 accident and the actions we are taking as a company to strengthen quality at Boeing.

Over the last several weeks I’ve spoken to many of you, and I’ve had tough and direct conversations with our customers, regulators and lawmakers. They are disappointed and we have much to prove to earn our stakeholders’ confidence. There is no message or slogan to do that. It will take transparency and demonstrated action – that starts with each of us along with a commitment to listening to each other and speaking up.

We’ve taken significant steps over the last several years to strengthen our safety and quality processes, but this accident makes it absolutely clear that we have more work to do. To that end, we have announced immediate and comprehensive actions to strengthen quality across our commercial airplanes programs and within our supply chain. In addition, our regulator has shared significant new actions to increase their oversight – which we will fully and transparently support.

This increased scrutiny – whether from ourselves, from our regulator, or from others – will make us better. As we move forward together, I ask all teammates to use their voices to speak up as we continue to focus on every detail through the lens of safety and quality first.

Our people on the factory floor know what we must do to improve better than anyone. We should all seek their feedback, understand how to help and always encourage any team member who raises issues that need to be addressed. We will go slow, we will not rush the system and we will take our time to do it right.

While we often use this time of year to share or update our financial and operational objectives, now is not the time for that. We will simply focus on every next airplane while doing everything possible to support our customers, follow the lead of our regulator and ensure the highest standard of safety and quality in all that we do. Ultimately – that is what will drive our performance.

As we go about that work, I want to be clear that we still have every confidence in our recovery. I have confidence in you and I have confidence in Boeing. We have a serious challenge in front of us – but I know this team is up to the task."

In a message to employees Friday, Boeing Commercial Airplanes President and CEO Stan Deal addressed the 737-9's return to service and provided an update on the company's quality actions.

"This afternoon, Alaska Airlines began safely returning its 737-9s to service after a three-week grounding, joining Copa Airlines which conducted its first flights yesterday. In the coming days, United Airlines, Aeromexico and Turkish Airlines will also bring their 737-9s back online.

Our near-term task has been helping these customers restore their operations. Our team worked diligently to finalize the detailed inspection protocol for the mid-exit door plug, which the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration approved on Wednesday.

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. Frankly, we have disappointed and let them down. We are deeply sorry for the significant disruption and frustration for our customers, some of whom have been publicly and unfairly criticized. We have heard from our regulator, which has announced it won’t allow 737 MAX production increases until they are satisfied we have improved our quality control. We own these issues and will make them right.

Over the last century, the people of Boeing have faced and overcome significant challenges. This is one of those times. We have to be better. We have to deliver perfect airplanes each and every time.

As I shared two weeks ago, we are taking immediate actions to strengthen quality assurance and controls across our factories. Our teams have made progress, and that includes having:

  • Instituted additional controls at Boeing and Spirit AeroSystems to eliminate quality escapes for the mid-exit door plug and similar structures and assemblies.
  • Inspected and approved the first 737 fuselages from Spirit for shipment to Boeing since the accident.
  • Issued two bulletins to suppliers to strengthen the focus on conformance and reducing the risks of quality escapes.
  • Hosted representatives from several 737 operators to directly review our production and quality procedures.
  • Appointed a recognized safety and quality leader, Admiral Kirkland Donald, to complete an independent assessment of our Quality Management System.

And yesterday, we paused 737 production and delivery activities for the day as more than 10,000 teammates across Renton, Seattle and Moses Lake stopped to refocus on safety and discuss how we can improve our practices. This is a quality stand down at a scale we have not done before and I greatly appreciate our people for being open and honest.

As I joined the discussions in the 737 factory, I heard frank feedback from teammates who brought forward ideas to clarify work instructions, strengthen training programs and improve other practices.

Stan Deal, Boeing Commercial Airplanes President and CEO, speaks with teammates Jan. 25 at the Quality Stand Down in Renton, Wash. Stan Deal, Boeing Commercial Airplanes President and CEO, speaks with teammates Jan. 25 at the Quality Stand Down in Renton, Wash.

Elizabeth Lund and the Airplane Programs team are reviewing the hundreds of opportunities and prioritizing improvements that should be implemented first. We will hold these quality stand downs at all Commercial Airplanes programs and sites over the next few weeks.

Your voice is critical. Please continue to raise concerns and share ideas through your leadership, or using our Speak Up portal. I look forward to sharing another update on our actions.

Thank you for taking personal accountability and recommitting to our core values of safety, quality and transparency as we work to provide our customers and their passengers complete confidence in Boeing airplanes."

About 10,000 737 program employees on two shifts paused airplane manufacturing January 25 for a full-day working session focused on first-time quality and safety. In the coming weeks, Quality Stand Downs will take place for the Renton factory third shift and at other Commercial Airplanes sites.

Stand downs are common practice in heavy manufacturing, most often focused on worker safety. While Boeing has held stand downs previously, this was the first time Boeing has paused airplane production for an entire day with a stand down to focus on quality and safety.

Boeing Quality Stand Down
Boeing Quality Stand Down
Boeing Quality Stand Down

“We will continue to cooperate fully and transparently with the FAA and follow their direction as we take action to strengthen safety and quality at Boeing. We will also work closely with our airline customers as they complete the required inspection procedures to safely return their 737-9 airplanes to service.”

Stan Deal, president and CEO of Boeing Commercial Airplanes:
“We have let down our airline customers and are deeply sorry for the significant disruption to them, their employees and their passengers. We are taking action on a comprehensive plan to bring these airplanes safely back to service and to improve our quality and delivery performance. We will follow the lead of the FAA and support our customers every step of the way.”

Additional information:

  • Boeing’s 737 factory teams will hold a “Quality Stand Down” in Renton, Wash., this Thursday, Jan. 25. This is part of the immediate quality actions recently shared by Deal. Learn more here.
  • Boeing has announced a series of immediate actions to strengthen quality. Please see Stan’s message to employees here.
  • Boeing also named a special advisor to lead a comprehensive quality review of commercial airplanes.

Boeing’s 737 factory teams will hold a “Quality Stand Down” in Renton, Wash., this Thursday, Jan. 25. During the session, production, delivery and support teams will pause for a day so employees can take part in working sessions focused on quality. This is part of the immediate actions recently shared by Boeing Commercial Airplanes CEO Stan Deal.

Here are excerpts from the internal communication to all Commercial Airplanes employees:

“The first of the stand downs will be held Thursday for the 737 program. Production, delivery and support efforts will pause for a day so teammates can take part in working sessions focused on quality.

The sessions allow all teammates who touch the airplane to ‘pause, evaluate what we’re doing, how we’re doing it and make recommendations for improvement,’ said Stan Deal, BCA president and CEO.

Over the next couple weeks, Quality Stand Downs will take place at other factories and fabrication sites to include all of Airplane Programs. During the stand downs, teammates will participate in hands-on learning, reflection and collaboration to identify where quality and compliance can be improved and create actionable plans that will be tracked to closure.”

Boeing is an active participant in the U.S. National Transportation Safety Board investigation of Alaska Airlines flight 1282. The company is limited in what it can share with media and others outside of the investigation per U.S. law that defines rules for information dissemination. These rules are consistent with an International Civil Aviation Organization protocol known as Annex 13, which outlines standards and recommended practices for accident investigations.

We are striving to be as transparent as possible within these boundaries by sharing information on this webpage as a resource.

Boeing CEO Dave Calhoun visited Spirit AeroSystems in Wichita, Kansas, and held an employee town hall meeting with Spirit AeroSystems CEO Pat Shanahan and Spirit AeroSystems Board Chair Bob Johnson.

Dave shared the following with Spirit AeroSystems employees:

“We’re going to get better, not because the two of us are talking, but because the engineers at Boeing, the mechanics at Boeing, the inspectors at Boeing, the engineers at Spirit, the mechanics at Spirit, the inspectors at Spirit — they’re going to speak the same language on this in every way, shape or form. We’re going to learn from it, and then we’re going to apply it to literally everything else we do together.”

Admiral Kirkland Donald to lead in-depth assessment of Boeing commercial quality management system

ARLINGTON, Va., Jan. 16, 2024 — Boeing today named Admiral Kirkland H. Donald, U.S. Navy (Ret.) as special advisor to Boeing President and CEO Dave Calhoun. The appointment is effective immediately.

Admiral Donald and a team of outside experts will conduct a thorough assessment of Boeing’s quality management system for commercial airplanes, including quality programs and practices in Boeing manufacturing facilities and its oversight of commercial supplier quality. His recommendations will be provided to Calhoun and to the Aerospace Safety Committee of Boeing’s Board of Directors.

“Admiral Donald is a recognized leader in ensuring the integrity of some of the most complex and consequential safety and quality systems in the world,” said Calhoun. “I’ve asked him to provide an independent and comprehensive assessment with actionable recommendations for strengthening our oversight of quality in our own factories and throughout our extended commercial airplane production system. He and his team will have any and all support he needs from me and from across The Boeing Company.”

Admiral Donald served as a nuclear trained submarine officer for 37 years. In his last Navy assignment, he served as Director, Naval Nuclear Propulsion Program for eight years, ensuring the safe and effective operation of all nuclear-powered warships and supporting infrastructure. The program is recognized worldwide for excellence in reactor safety and reliability. He currently serves as Chairman of the Board for the largest military shipbuilding company in the United States, Huntington Ingalls Industries, Inc. He also chairs the board of the nonprofit Battelle. His public board service also includes Entergy Corporation, where he is Chairman of the Nuclear Committee. Admiral Donald graduated from the United States Naval Academy with a Bachelor of Science in Ocean Engineering.

Boeing MediaRoom

In a message to employees, Boeing Commercial Airplanes President and CEO Stan Deal announced immediate actions the company is taking to bolster quality assurance and controls in 737 production.

"As we continue to respond to the Alaska Airlines Flight 1282 accident, our team has been working with the five affected airlines to inspect their 737-9 fleet. They have been examining and collecting measurements around the mid-exit door plugs to ensure they are installed per specifications.

While we complete these tasks to earn Federal Aviation Administration approval to unground the affected 737-9s, our team is also taking a hard look at our quality practices in our factories and across our production system.

We have taken important steps in recent years to strengthen our Quality Management System’s (QMS) foundation and its layers of protection. But, the AS1282 accident and recent customer findings make clear that we are not where we need to be. To that end, we are taking immediate actions to bolster quality assurance and controls across our factories.

  • More quality inspections: We are planning additional inspections throughout the build process at Boeing and at Spirit. These checks will provide one more layer of scrutiny on top of the thousands of inspections performed today across each 737 airplane, and build on the reviews we have implemented to catch potential non-conformances. Since 2019, we have increased the number of Commercial Airplanes quality inspectors by 20% and we plan to make more investments in the Quality function.
  • Team sessions on quality: We are planning additional sessions for our teams to gather and refocus on the fundamentals of our QMS, take advantage of our expanded training programs, and recommit to improving quality and compliance.
  • Boeing review of Spirit work: We have deployed a team to work alongside Spirit AeroSystems to complement the existing teammates on the ground. Our team is now inspecting Spirit’s installation of the mid-exit door plug and approving them before the fuselage section can be shipped to Boeing. We are also inspecting more than 50 other points in Spirit’s build process and assessing their build plans against engineering specifications.
  • Airline oversight inspections: We are opening our factories to 737 operators for additional oversight inspections to review our production and quality procedures. Spirit will do the same and we will learn from our customers’ insights and findings.
  • Independent assessment: An outside party will be brought in to thoroughly review the Quality Management System at Commercial Airplanes and suggest further improvements.

And as we prepare new 737-9s for delivery, we will conduct the same thorough inspections of the mid-exit door plugs as mandated by the FAA. Customer representatives will continue to have access to anything they want to see onboard their airplane before delivery.

These actions are separate from the FAA’s investigation and the agency’s plan to increase oversight of 737-9 production. We will cooperate fully and transparently with both as we work to restore trust with our regulator and our customers. And as the National Transportation Safety Board’s investigation proceeds, we will take additional steps to improve our practices as the facts and findings dictate.

Everything we do must conform to the requirements in our QMS. Anything less is unacceptable. It is through this standard that we must operate to provide our customers and their passengers complete confidence in Boeing airplanes. Let each one of us take personal accountability and recommit ourselves to this important work."

Stan

“We welcome the FAA’s announcement and will cooperate fully and transparently with our regulator. We support all actions that strengthen quality and safety and we are taking actions across our production system.”

“We will cooperate fully and transparently with the FAA and the NTSB on their investigations.”

Boeing President and CEO Dave Calhoun addressed the importance of trust and transparency at a recent all-employee safety meeting on Jan. 9, 2024. Here are two excerpts:

  • On transparency: “We’re going to approach it with 100% complete transparency every step of the way.”
  • On trust: “We’re going to have to demonstrate it by our actions, by our willingness to work directly and transparently with them (customers). And to make sure they understand that every airplane that Boeing has its name on that’s in the sky is in fact safe.”

Boeing President and CEO Dave Calhoun and company leaders hosted a meeting with all employees today devoted to the importance of safety and how every detail matters. Watch Calhoun’s comments here:

“We continue to be in close contact with our customers and the FAA on the required inspections. As part of the process, we are making updates based on their feedback and requirements.”

“As operators conduct the required inspections, we are staying in close contact with them and will help address any and all findings. We are committed to ensuring every Boeing airplane meets design specifications and the highest safety and quality standards. We regret the impact this has had on our customers and their passengers.”

Boeing on Monday issued a message to operators with instructions for inspecting certain 737-9 airplanes.

In a message to employees, Boeing Commercial Airplanes President and CEO Stan Deal said teams have been working diligently — with thorough FAA review — to provide comprehensive, technical instructions to operators for the required inspections.

“We agree with and fully support the FAA’s decision to require immediate inspections of 737-9 MAX airplanes with the same configuration as the affected airplane. Our teams have been working diligently — with thorough FAA review — to provide comprehensive, technical instructions to operators for the required inspections. This morning, our team issued the instructions via a multi-operator message. We are working closely with 737-9 MAX customers and providing the technical assistance they may need, while staying in contact with the FAA as we move forward.”

Boeing President and CEO Dave Calhoun invited all employees to join a company-wide webcast focused on Safety, to be hosted on Tuesday, January 9 from Boeing’s factory in Renton, Wash. In his message, Calhoun said:

“When it comes to the safety of our products and services, every decision and every action matters. And when serious accidents like this occur, it is critical for us to work transparently with our customers and regulators to understand and address the causes of the event, and to ensure they don’t happen again. This is and must be the focus of our team right now. I am deeply grateful to our colleagues who have been working tirelessly on our company’s response over the past two days.

We will spend time together Tuesday talking about our company’s response to this accident, and reinforcing our focus on and our commitment to safety, quality, integrity and transparency. While we’ve made progress in strengthening our safety management and quality control systems and processes in the last few years, situations like this are a reminder that we must remain focused on continuing to improve every day.”

“Safety is our top priority and we deeply regret the impact this event has had on our customers and their passengers. We agree with and fully support the FAA's decision to require immediate inspections of 737-9 airplanes with the same configuration as the affected airplane. In addition, a Boeing technical team is supporting the NTSB's investigation into the Jan. 5 accident. We will remain in close contact with our regulator and customers.”

Boeing Media Room

“We are aware of the incident involving Alaska Airlines Flight 1282. We are working to gather more information and are in contact with our airline customer. A Boeing technical team stands ready to support the investigation.”

Boeing Media Room

Additional Resources

The 737-9 compared to the 737-8

The 737-9 compared to the 737-8

What’s the difference between a 737-8 and 737-9? The Boeing 737 MAX family includes the 737-7, 737-8 (including the high-occupancy 737-8-200), 737-9 and 737-10. The 737-8, 737-8-200 and 737-9 are in active service. The 737-7 and 737-10 are undergoing certification and are not in service.

Alaska Airlines Flight 1282 was a 737-9. Compared to a 737-8, which does not have a door-plug option, the 737-9 is nearly 9 feet (2.7 meters) longer, has a slightly shorter range and its cabin can be configured with more seats. The 737-9 represents about 16% of the total in-service 737 MAX fleet.

Contact

Boeing is an active participant in the U.S. National Transportation Safety Board investigation of Alaska Airlines flight 1282. The company is limited in what it can share with media and others outside of the investigation per U.S. law that defines rules for information dissemination. These rules are consistent with an International Civil Aviation Organization protocol known as Annex 13, which outlines standards and recommended practices for accident investigations.

We are striving to be as transparent as possible within these boundaries by sharing information on this webpage as a resource.