Boeing Vows ‘Immediate Actions’ to Boost Safety After FAA Audit

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Boeing is taking “immediate actions” to address issues relating to its manufacturing processes, the company told staff in a memo Tuesday, after an audit by the Federal Aviation Administration found a series of problems with the aircraft maker’s production methods.

The memo from Stan Deal, president of Boeing’s commercial plane division, included details about how the company will address quality lapses. The FAA’s six-week review was launched after a panel blew off one of Boeing’s 737 Max 9 jetliners during an Alaska Airlines flight in January.

The FAA announced last week that it found “multiple instances” in which Boeing and one of its suppliers had failed to adhere to quality-control requirements, with a New York Times report alleging that Boeing failed in 33 out of 89 aspects of production reviewed at the company’s plant in Renton, Washington.

Deal wrote in his memo that “the vast majority” of the compliance failure involved employees not following Boeing’s approved procedures, according to the Associated Press. He said one of the steps the company would take to address the situation involved “working with each employee noted with a non-compliance during the audit to ensure they fully understand the work instructions and procedures.”

He added that weekly compliance check are also being introduced for each of the work teams at the Renton plants—where the Max jets are assembled—and said that Boeing will “simplify and streamline our processes” after a panel of outside industry and government experts said existing procedures for safety changed too frequently and created confusion among workers.

The FAA’s audit came after a door plug blew out of a Boeing 737 Max 9 during an Alaska Airlines flight on Jan. 5. The plane made an emergency landing with a large hole in its fuselage, and no one was injured in the incident. The day before the blowout, the airline’s workers wanted to take the plane out of service the following night for a maintenance check after becoming concerned about warning lights on the aircraft, according to the Times, but Alaska kept the plane in service before the check took place.

The carrier told AP the scheduled maintenance plan had been “in line with all processes and procedures” and that nothing “required or suggested that the aircraft needed to be pulled from service.”