- Alaska Airlines said it met with Boeing’s CEO last week and will review its quality control systems.
- It follows the FAA announcing an audit of the 737 Max 9 production line.
- Alaska also began preliminary inspections of up to 20 jets but awaits FAA approval of Boeing’s instructions.
Alaska Airlines announced Saturday that it is starting a “thorough review” of Boeing’s quality control systems.
The airline will also enhance its oversight of the Boeing production line by expanding its team that validates its quality.
It added, “We welcome and appreciate” the Federal Aviation Administration’s audit of the Boeing 737 Max 9 production line.
That audit also involves Spirit AeroSystems, a Kansas-based company that builds the fuselages for the planes.
Alaska Airlines said it had a “candid conversation” with Boeing’s CEO, Dave Calhoun, and other company leaders to discuss how the manufacturer will ensure quality.
It comes after Alaska Airlines Flight 1282 lost a door plug, which covers a deactivated emergency exit, in midair on January 5.
The plane returned to Portland International Airport 20 minutes after takeoff, and nobody was seriously injured, but the incident has renewed scrutiny of Boeing and its 737 Max jets.
Calhoun told CNBC last week the incident occurred due to a “quality escape” and said in a company meeting that it was “our mistake.”
Alaska Airlines has grounded all 65 of its 737 Max 9 jets under an FAA order, which requires each to be confirmed safe before returning to service.
However, the FAA requires more data from Boeing before it approves inspection instructions, which have been revised after airlines found loose hardware during the initial inspections.
Alaska Airlines and United Airlines, the world’s biggest 737 Max 9 operator with 79, have canceled hundreds of flights as a result.
Alaska Airlines began preliminary inspections over the weekend, which it said could involve up to 20 planes.
“Over many decades, we have cultivated a strong partnership with Boeing,” it said in Saturday’s statement. “With a commitment to transparency and candor, we are dedicated to working together to uphold the utmost quality and safety of our airplanes for our employees and guests.”
Boeing did not immediately respond to a request for comment, sent outside regular US working hours.