Senator Urges FAA to Require ‘Transparency and Accountability’ at Boeing with Safety Plan

Boeing is required to submit a quality and safety compliance program to the Federal Aviation Administration after the Alaskan Airlines incident in January.

Sen. Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.) urged the head of the Federal Aviation Administration on June 3 to require Boeing’s transparency and accountability in its 90-day quality plan with the aerospace manufacturer.

Ms. Duckworth, the chair of the Senate subcommittee on aviation, said the company’s “safety and quality assurances will be meaningless without appropriate transparency and accountability.”

Boeing submitted a quality assurance plan on May 30 after FAA Administrator Mike Whitaker gave the company 90 days in February to create a comprehensive strategy to resolve “systemic quality-control issues” with its manufacturing.

Mr. Whitaker spoke with Ms. Duckworth by phone on June 3 and will be in Washington on June 4 to testify before the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee.

“Regardless of how many planes Boeing builds, we need to see a strong and unwavering commitment to safety and quality that endures over time,” Mr. Whitaker said after meeting with Boeing executives on May 30.

“This is about systemic change, and there’s a lot of work to be done.”

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The administrator announced in February that Boeing would be prohibited from boosting production on its 737 MAX after a panel over an unused emergency exit door blew out during a Jan. 5 Alaskan Airlines flight.

During a press conference following the May 30 meeting, Mr. Whitaker said he did not anticipate Boeing satisfying the demands to increase production within the “next few months.”

The FAA has not had further discussions with Boeing about this issue, he added.

“I made it clear to Boeing CEO Dave Calhoun and other senior leaders that this plan does not mark the end of our increased oversight of Boeing and its suppliers, but the beginning of the next chapter,” Mr. Whitaker said.

He added that Boeing still has “a lot of work” to satisfy the FAA’s requirements, including “systemic change” at the company.

“Our goal is to make sure that Boeing makes the necessary changes and has the right tools in place to sustain those changes. Boeing has laid out their roadmap, and now they need to execute,” Mr. Whitaker said.

In a statement to The Epoch Times, a spokesperson for the FAA said the agency will “respond directly to the Senator.”

“The FAA always appreciates the opportunity to brief Congress,” the spokesperson said.

Boeing released a plan that included six safety-focused production and manufacturing areas the company would target.

The plan features performance indicators such as employee proficiency, supplier shortages, the time it takes to address issues, and the total hours needed to rework each airplane.

Boeing will also use data to “provide real-time insights into production system health, enabling the company to identify and remediate potential quality and thus potential safety hazards before they fully mature.”

Mr. Calhoun, who attended the meeting with Mr. Whitaker on May 30, will step down from the company by the end of the year as part of a wide-reaching management reorganization after the Jan. 5 door blow-out incident.

Boeing has yet to name a replacement, but Mr. Calhoun said on June 4 that he supports Stephanie Pope, Boeing’s head of its commercial division, as his successor.

However, investors and analysts want a new top executive for the aerospace company. One who possesses engineering and CEO experience.

At Boeing’s annual meeting on May 17, Mr. Calhoun said he expects the FAA to “take whatever time is necessary to review that plan and hold [Boeing] accountable.”

“This is more of a beginning than it is an end,” he said.

The company also faces potential criminal prosecution after the Justice Department announced on May 14 that Boeing breached a 2021 deferred prosecution agreement.

The settlement allowed Boeing to escape criminal fraud charges if it stayed in compliance for three years. That window was set to expire on Jan. 7, two days after the Alaskan Airlines incident.

Boeing has denied that it violated the settlement agreement.

The Epoch Times has reached out to Boeing and the FAA for comment.

Reuters contributed to this report. 

Original News Source Link – Epoch Times

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