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


Latest information can be found here.

Boeing continues to support the U.S. NTSB and FAA investigations of the Jan. 5 accident. Click here to find the latest updates and information on the company’s actions to strengthen safety and quality.

Our commitment to safety and transparency

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


Boeing President and CEO Dave Calhoun provided testimony to the U.S. Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations.

Read the full written testimony in Boeing’s Media Room

Boeing leaders met with the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) on Thursday, May 30, to present our comprehensive Safety and Quality Plan. It’s based on feedback from our employees, findings from FAA audits and recommendations from an FAA expert panel review. Learn more about actions we’re taking to strengthen safety and quality and read an executive summary of the plan here.

The plan generally fits into four categories of actions:

  • Invest in workforce training
  • Simplify plans and processes
  • Eliminate defects
  • Elevate safety and quality culture

A significant component of our Safety and Quality Plan are these six measurements (key performance indicators, or KPIs) focused on safety, quality and production health:

  • Employee proficiency measures share of employees who are deemed proficient in core skills.
  • Notice of Escape (NoE) rework hours measures time performing rework in Boeing’s final assembly facilities to address non-conforming work from its fabrication division and external suppliers.
  • Supplier shortages measures shortages per day from Boeing’s fabrication division and external suppliers.
  • Rework hours per airplane measures time spent performing rework in Boeing’s final assembly facilities.
  • Travelers at factory rollout measures unfinished jobs traveling from Final Assembly.
  • Ticketing performance measures quality escapes per ticketed airplane prior to delivery.

Additional resources:

Statement from Dave Calhoun, President and CEO, Boeing: “After the Jan. 5 accident involving a 737 airplane, we took immediate containment and mitigation actions to ensure airplane safety. We also made the decision to slow production as we took a hard look across every facet of our operations. We listened to our employees, engaged transparently with our regulator, welcomed the findings and recommendations from the FAA’s ACSAA panel review, and invited scrutiny from customers and independent experts. Based on that feedback and oversight, today we presented to the FAA our comprehensive plan to strengthen our safety management, quality system, safety culture and ODA responsibilities.

Many of these actions are underway and our team is committed to executing on each element of the plan. It is through this continuous learning and improvement process that our industry has made commercial aviation the safest mode of transportation. The actions we are taking today will further strengthen that foundation.

We thank Administrator Whitaker and the FAA team for their feedback today and we will continue to work under their oversight as we move forward.”


Statement from Stephanie Pope, President and CEO, Commercial Airplanes: “Our plan is built on the feedback of our employees who know best how to design, build and deliver safe, high-quality airplanes. We also incorporated the requirements and feedback from our regulator and welcomed the recommendations from our customers and industry experts.

Based on that feedback, our roadmap includes major investments to expand and enhance workforce training, simplify manufacturing plans and processes, eliminate defects at the source, and elevate our safety and quality culture, along with specific measures to monitor and manage the health of our production system.  

We are confident in the plan that we have put forward and are committed to continuously improving. We will work under the FAA’s oversight and uphold our responsibility to the flying public to continue delivering safe, high-quality airplanes. We are also grateful for our customers’ patience as we implement this plan and return to predictable deliveries.”


***This message is to all Commercial Airplanes employees.***


On January 5, a mid-exit door plug departed one of our 737-9 airplanes mid-flight because of a quality escape that occurred in our factory. We immediately took actions to contain that risk to ensure an accident like that does not happen again. In the months since, we have slowed production to examine every aspect of our airplane production system and develop actions to strengthen our safety management, quality system and safety culture. Today, we submitted a comprehensive action plan to the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration.

As we shared during our All-Team Meeting last month, our Safety & Quality Plan is built on your feedback, along with recommendations from an FAA industry panel, our customers and industry experts, all under the requirements and oversight of our regulator.

Our plan includes actions that fit within four categories with specific measurements to continuously manage the health of our production system.

  • Invest in workforce training
  • Simplify plans and processes
  • Eliminate defects
  • Elevate safety and quality culture

Many of these actions are underway, again powered by your engagement and feedback:

You said

We did

Investments in training

✔  Added ~300 hours of training material
✔  Deployed workplace coaches and peer trainers onto the production lines


✔  Cut the steps it takes to access build plans
✔  Began simplifying 400 quality-related command media to remove redundancies, contradictions
✔  Cleared more time for managers to spend on factory floor through fewer meetings, tasks

Eliminate defects

✔  Implemented quality inspection and approval of 737 fuselages before shipment from supplier
✔  Re-established daily compliance sweeps

Safety and quality culture

✔  Pilot program to make sure airplanes are “move ready” as way to manage traveled work
✔  Re-launched Employee Involvement Teams
✔  Ordered ~7,500 pieces of tooling and equipment

This is a journey, and we will keep taking action. It is through continuous learning and improvement that our industry has made commercial aviation the safest mode of transportation. We are committed to continuously improve as we build our Boeing, working every day to deliver airplanes to our customers that are safe, high-quality and on-time.

Please continue to speak up, and we will work the issues and share updates. We will succeed as a team and execute with safety, quality, and compliance in everything we do.


In late February, we paused training for our new Manufacturing and Quality hires for about six weeks to assess how we could better prepare teammates. We then made substantial improvements to our training program based on feedback from employees, the FAA, as well as a review of industry best practices.

Here are some of the changes we’ve made for employees across Commercial Airplanes:

Expanded workforce training and proficiency

New hires in Manufacturing and Quality continue to start in our Foundational Training Centers. Now, each new employee receives 10 to 14 weeks of foundational skills training before moving to the production floor, which is one to two weeks more on average per teammate. We provide more time and support for those who need it.

New hires are then paired with a workplace coach or peer trainer on the factory floor for structured on-the-job training (SOJT) and won’t work on their own until they demonstrate established proficiency measures.

Teammates already on the production floor prior to these improvements are required to take proficiency assessments.

Investments in training

We’re transitioning to a digital record-keeping platform for new employees. This paperless system helps trainees track and formally document their progress while allowing leaders to verify who’s ready for a particular job and who needs more attention and training.

In our Renton Foundational Training Center, we installed a section of 737 fuselage for employees to practice various skills including wiring installation and identifying potential defects.

“All of these changes together are building relationships and a support network, so that employees are more able to ask for help, having a system surrounding them to help them through the training process.” — Kim Pastega, vice president of Commercial Airplane Manufacturing & Safety

An aircraft test technician trainee (left) practices working on a section of fuselage from a retired 737 alongside an employee development specialist at Boeing’s Foundational Training Center in Renton, Wash. An aircraft test technician trainee (left) practices working on a section of fuselage from a retired 737 alongside an employee development specialist at Boeing’s Foundational Training Center in Renton, Wash.

During the Annual Meeting of Shareholders, Boeing President and CEO Dave Calhoun discussed near-term and long-term actions the company is taking to strengthen safety, quality and company culture. Listen below and read the full remarks here.

Since January, more than 70,000 Boeing Commercial Airplanes teammates across the company have paused production and delivery activities for a day to focus on ways to improve safety and quality. Based on the employee feedback provided, our top areas of focus include training, processes, defects and culture.

Employees at more than 20 sites in the U.S., UK, Canada, and Australia have participated in stand downs. The sessions have generated more than 35,000 employee comments, with common themes like obstacles in their work, ideas and suggestions to improve.

All submissions get categorized, prioritized and reviewed for action. We’ve systematically addressed thousands of comments and suggestions; teams are working through the entire list including many that will be included as part of our Safety and Quality Plan (90-day plan) that we will submit to the FAA at the end of May.

A few examples include:

  • Training: We have added new training material for manufacturing and quality roles that averages about 20-50 more training hours per employee, depending on work scope.
  • Tooling: To help teammates better do their jobs, more than 7,000 new tools and other equipment have been provided across commercial airplanes programs.

In recent Boeing Commercial Airplanes employee meetings, leaders talked about these changes and what’s ahead:

“We want our teammates to know their voices are heard, and that we are taking action to address their improvement ideas. Ensuring the safety and quality of our products and services requires a full team effort. Our customers, our company and the flying public depend on it.”– Elizabeth Lund, BCA Quality senior vice president and Quality Operations Council chair

“When we find issues, we go as far as standing down a team to make sure that everybody on the team or everybody in the area is aware of the issue. It's not meant to be punitive [and] we share the information across the programs, from the 737 to the 777 to the 787 to the 767.” – Mike Fleming, BCA Airplane Programs and Customer Support senior vice president and Program Management Operation Council chair


Employees gather for the 777/777x Quality Stand Down in Everett, Wash.

Boeing CFO Brian West answered analyst questions at the Bank of America Global Industrials Conference – and focused his comments on the actions Boeing is taking to strengthen quality and safety.  Listen below, and download a full transcript here.

In a message to employees, Stan Deal addresses recent assessments of Boeing’s commercial airplanes unit and shares the actions the company is taking and where it needs to continue to improve.

"As we conduct quality stand downs across our company, your improvement ideas have been invaluable. We have used your feedback, and those from our regulator and customers, to take immediate actions to strengthen our safety and quality. These actions are central to a comprehensive plan we will soon deliver to the FAA.

In this update, I want to address two recent independent assessments of our operations, discuss our actions to date, and call out two things we must all do.

FAA production audit
FAA inspectors went deep into our Renton factories in January and February to audit our production and quality control. They examined 737 work instructions, monitored mechanics, inspected for defects, and more. The vast majority of our audit non-compliances involved not following our approved processes and procedures.

In addition to the steps we have taken to enhance quality, such as adding layers of inspections, our team has taken prompt action to ensure understanding and compliance with our requirements, including:

  • Working with each employee noted with a non-compliance during the audit to ensure they fully understand the work instructions and procedures
  • Implementing weekly compliance checks for every 737 work cell, as of March 1
  • Dedicating time in each shift for mechanics to complete compliance and FOD sweeps
  • Auditing all toolboxes and removing any box that isn’t fully compliant
  • Planning additional audits this month of the 737 program to ensure full compliance

Expert panel review
A panel of industry experts spent much of 2023 reviewing Boeing’s Safety Management System (SMS) as part of a mandate from the U.S. Congress. The panel recently issued a 50-page report of their findings.

  • The experts found our SMS reflects global standards, but our procedures are too complicated, we change them too much, and we can do more to connect metrics to the safety outcomes we want.

Our teams are working to simplify and streamline our processes and address the panel’s recommendations. Meanwhile, here are two things each of us must do to strengthen safety and quality at Boeing.

  1. Precisely follow every step of our manufacturing procedures and processes. These have been designed to ensure conformance to specifications and compliance to regulatory requirements. We can and should update procedures and processes, but until then, we must adhere to the existing ones.     
  2. Always be on the lookout for a potential safety hazard or quality escape. If you spot an issue, you are fully empowered to report it through your manager or the Speak Up portal, so we address it right away rather than travel the risk to the next person or position.

Progress so far
Our teams are making progress in several critical areas, including:

  • Reducing traveled work in our factories, including minimizing the need for rework of parts coming from our suppliers. Through our collaboration with Spirit AeroSystems, we have implemented additional inspection points at their facility in Wichita. As such, starting March 1, teams there have been ensuring first-pass quality before any fuselages are shipped to Renton.
  • This week, we will deploy our Safety Management System to conduct new reviews of traveled work within our four walls. We will assess our status in the factory and, if needed, put mitigation plans in place. We will not hesitate in stopping a production line or keeping an airplane in position.

We have more to do and you play an important role. The quality stand downs have been a great platform to surface ideas and we have more of those planned this month. Meanwhile, please continue to raise concerns, anonymously or otherwise, via Speak Up. Thank you for strengthening our commitment to compliance and ensuring safety and quality in all that we do."


“We have deep respect for the NTSB and the critical role they play in aviation safety. Since the first moments following the Alaska Airlines Flight 1282 accident, we have worked proactively and transparently to fully support the NTSB’s investigation. Our team works tirelessly with the NTSB team to respond comprehensively to all NTSB information requests and bring information to them that would be relevant to their investigation. Early in the investigation, we provided the NTSB with names of Boeing employees, including door specialists, who we believed would have relevant information. We have now provided the full list of individuals on the 737 door team, in response to a recent request. With respect to documentation, if the door plug removal was undocumented there would be no documentation to share. We will continue to cooperate fully and transparently with the NTSB’s investigation.”

Following the FAA’s announcement, Boeing President and CEO Dave Calhoun shared the following:   

“By virtue of our quality stand-downs, the FAA audit findings and the recent expert review panel report, we have a clear picture of what needs to be done. Transparency prevailed in all of these discussions. Boeing will develop the comprehensive action plan with measurable criteria that demonstrates the profound change that Administrator Whitaker and the FAA demand. Our Boeing leadership team is totally committed to meeting this challenge.”

“We transparently supported the panel’s review and appreciate their work. We’ve taken important steps to foster a safety culture that empowers and encourages all employees to share their voice. But there is more work to do. We will carefully review the panel’s assessment and learn from their findings, as we continue our comprehensive efforts to improve our safety and quality programs.”

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.

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.

“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."


“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.


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.