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Boeing CEO admits ‘mistakes’ related to horrific Alaska Airlines flight

(CNN) — Boeing CEO David Calhoun acknowledged the “mistakes” the company made in the Alaska Airlines incident during a “safety meeting” with all employees on Tuesday.

“We’re going to address the first issue by admitting our mistakes,” Calhoun told staff, according to part of the meeting shared with CNN. “We’re going to handle every step of the way with 100 percent transparency. We We will work with the NTSB, which is investigating this accident to determine its cause.”

A company source said the company believed the “relevant error” occurred in the aircraft’s manufacturing supply chain. However, it’s unclear whether Calhoun found any specific errors during the demonstration.

The meeting also served as a reminder of the seriousness of the situation, sources said. Employees were told that the company’s chief safety officer is now responsible for the 737 Max fleet. Mike Delaney is director of aerospace safety at The Boeing Company.

The meeting, held at noon Pacific time at the 737 Max factory in Renton, Washington, also expressed confidence in “Boeing, the aircraft and (Boeing’s) employees,” sources said.

The meeting highlighted actions taken by the crew and Alaska Airlines to handle the situation, sources said.

On January 5, shortly after takeoff from Portland, Oregon, Alaska Airlines Flight 1282 bound for Ontario, California, a passenger’s oxygen mask was hanging from the ceiling next to a missing window and part of the side wall. (Image credit: @strawberrvy/Instagram via Reuters)

The company pledged to work with the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to ensure proper inspections. Earlier Tuesday, the FAA said it was in talks with Boeing to determine the best way to conduct these inspections and that the planes would remain grounded until the inspections were completed.

During the meeting, Boeing also pledged to work with the U.S. National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) to try to determine what exactly happened, sources said. CNN has reached out to Boeing for comment.

An Alaska Airlines flight carrying 177 people made an emergency landing on Friday shortly after taking off from Portland, Oregon, after part of the wall of the one-week-old 737 Max 9 aircraft fell off, leaving a hole on the side of the cabin. Big hole. airplane. The Federal Aviation Administration on Saturday ordered the temporary grounding of most Boeing 737 Max 9 aircraft while regulators and Boeing investigate the cause of the incident. The order applies to approximately 171 aircraft worldwide.

The FAA said on Tuesday that Boeing Co’s plan to inspect door jams on its 737 Max 9 aircraft needs to be modified while the plane remains grounded.

“Boeing provided an initial version of this directive yesterday and is now revising it as a result of the response comments received,” the FAA said in a statement on Tuesday. “After receiving the revised version of Boeing’s directive, the FAA The FAA will conduct a thorough review.”

Surprisingly, no one was killed or seriously injured in Friday’s crash, which was partially captured in horrific video shared by passengers on the same flight.

Boeing publicly shared an internal memo inviting all employees to attend, and Calhoun said the agenda for Tuesday’s meeting included a discussion of the company’s response to the accident.

“When it comes to the security of our products and services, every decision and every action matters,” Calhoun wrote in a memo to employees. “When serious incidents like this occur, we must work transparently with customers and regulators to understand and address the cause of the incident and ensure it never happens again.”

Calhoun also mentioned that Boeing has faced increasingly serious safety-related issues in recent years following two fatal accidents in 2018 and 2019. “While we have made progress in strengthening our safety management and safety control systems and processes and quality, recent years have reminded us that we must continue to focus on continuous improvement every day,” the CEO wrote.

At the same time, the accident also attracted the attention of lawmakers. In a statement on Tuesday, Senator J.D. Vance asked the Senate Commerce Committee to hold a hearing to “evaluate the incidents involving the 737 MAX, Boeing’s engineering and safety standards, and the quality of oversight provided by Boeing.” FAA and others Relevant government agencies”.

“I hope the hearings happen as soon as possible,” added Vance, an Ohio Republican.

The White House said on Tuesday that U.S. President Joe Biden is personally monitoring the situation with many Boeing 737 MAX 9 aircraft grounded for inspection after an Alaska Airlines flight made an emergency landing as the investigation continues.

White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said the White House was “relieved” that all passengers and crew members of Alaska Airlines Flight 1282 were safe, noting that the plane will remain grounded , until the operator “completes enhanced inspections” by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).

National Transportation Safety Board officials recovered the missing door jam from Alaska Airlines Flight 1282. The Boeing 737 MAX 9 experienced rapid decompression over Portland, Oregon, on Friday. (Source: National Transportation Safety Board)

Latest investigation status

The exact cause of a refrigerator-sized hole that suddenly appeared on a passenger plane on Friday is still under investigation. A preliminary report is expected within three to four weeks, said National Transportation Safety Board spokesman Eric Weiss.

The commission said late Monday it would continue to recover items ejected from aircraft. A Portland school teacher discovered a piece of the fuselage of a plane that landed in his backyard on Sunday and contacted the agency. Two cell phones that may have come out of the plane hole were also found in the yard and on the side of the road and turned over to investigators.

National Transportation Safety Board Chairman Jennifer Homendy also told reporters over the weekend that Alaska Airlines had previously restricted the accident plane from flying over the ocean because the plane’s automatic boost warning light came on three times in a row last month. However, Homendy stressed at a news conference that the National Transportation Safety Board has “no indication that this is in any way related to the incident that caused part of the plane to fly away.”

Complicating the investigation was partly the loss of key recordings from the cockpit because equipment was set up to overwrite recordings after collecting two hours of audio, Homendy said. He advocates for the FAA and Congress to require all aircraft to retain cockpit recordings 24 hours a day.

Still, the first details of the investigation are harrowing as investigators continue to sift through data, witness accounts and examine the plane itself. The damage extended to several rows of the aircraft. According to Homendy, the two seats next to the detached doorstop were empty when the explosion occurred, but the head restraints had been torn off.

Homedy said video of the incident “looked very peaceful, but I’m sure it was total chaos.”

Boeing said in a company statement on Saturday that it agreed with the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA) decision to ground most of its 737 Max 9 aircraft while they undergo inspections, emphasizing that “safety is our top priority.” On Monday, Boeing said it had issued instructions to airlines and maintenance companies on how to inspect the planes.

Also on Monday, United Airlines, which operates the largest fleet of Max 9s, said it found loose door cover bolts on an unspecified number of its Boeing 737 Max 9 aircraft during inspections of aircraft ordered by the FAA. Alaska Airlines also said on Monday that it discovered loose hardware on some 737 Max 9 aircraft during inspections.

Boeing’s fall from grace

Friday’s high-profile incident once again highlighted Boeing’s fall from grace in recent years. The company’s aircraft have repeatedly faced quality and safety issues over the past five years, resulting in long-term groundings of some models and halting deliveries of others.

Boeing’s most glaring quality issues have arisen with the design of the 737 Max, which was found to be responsible for two fatal crashes: one in Indonesia in October 2018 and another in Ethiopia in March 2019. The two accidents killed a total of 346 people and grounded the company’s best-selling aircraft for 20 months, causing losses of more than $21 billion. But the design flaws that led to the accident have raised questions about Boeing’s decision-making process. Internal communications released during the 737 Max grounding show that one employee described the plane as “designed by clowns who are overseen by monkeys.”

The latest safety incident also highlights the fact that Boeing likely won’t have to worry about going bankrupt any time soon, no matter how serious its mistakes. Boeing and Airbus are the only two major airlines in the world, neither of which can meet all demand for commercial aircraft on their own, and both have backlogs of orders that are years old.

Boeing shares fell about 8% on Monday as investors grew concerned about further damage to its business.

——CNN’s Chris Isidore, Gregory Wallace, Pete Muntean, Betsky Klein and Taylor Romine contributed to this report.

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