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A Boeing 737 MAX 7 aircraft piloted by Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Chief Steve Dickson lands during an evaluation flight at Boeing Field in Seattle, Washington, U.S. September 30, 2020. REUTERS/Lindsey Wasson

MONEY & BUSINESS: Boeing to detail quality, training improvements in FAA meeting, sources say – One America News Network

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May 30, 2024 – 3:33 AM PDT

A Boeing 737 MAX 7 aircraft piloted by Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Chief Steve Dickson lands during an evaluation flight at Boeing Field in Seattle, Washington, U.S. September 30, 2020. REUTERS/Lindsey Wasson

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Boeing’s (BA.N) outgoing CEO Dave Calhoun and other senior company officials will detail the planemaker’s quality, training and other improvements during meetings with U.S. aviation regulators on Thursday, according to sources with knowledge of the matter.

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In late February, Federal Aviation Administration chief Mike Whitaker gave Boeing 90 days to develop a comprehensive plan to address “systemic quality-control issues” and barred the planemaker from expanding 737 MAX production after a door panel blowout during a Jan. 5 flight on a new Alaska Airlines (ALK.N) 737 MAX 9.

Whitaker will hear firsthand from Boeing executives on quality efforts during a scheduled three-hour meeting at FAA headquarters in Washington that could go longer, according to the sources.

It will be Calhoun’s second high-profile meeting with Whitaker this year as Boeing seeks to have costly production limits lifted by the FAA after soaring quality concerns compelled the regulator to slow its rapidly increasing 737 production schedule.

Boeing confirmed a meeting would take place on Thursday, but declined to provide further details. The FAA said Whitaker would take part in a meeting with Boeing.

Calhoun is due to exit the company by the end of the year as part of a broader management shake-up announced in the wake of the Alaska Airlines incident, but Boeing has not yet named a replacement.

The meeting is set to include other senior Boeing leaders including Stephanie Pope, the new head of Boeing Commercial Airplanes as well as Boeing’s head of quality Elizabeth Lund and Mike Fleming, Boeing senior vice president and general manager, airplane programs, the sources said.

Boeing said this month it has added new training material for manufacturing and quality roles averaging about 20 to 50 more training hours per employee, while more than 7,000 new tools and equipment have been provided for commercial airplane work.

“We anticipate the FAA will take whatever time is necessary to review that plan and hold us accountable,” Calhoun said at Boeing’s annual meeting on May 17. “This is more of a beginning than it is an end.”

Whitaker, who plans to hold a press conference after the meeting, said last week that Boeing faces a “long road” to address safety issues. He added the 90-day plan “is not the end of the process. It’s the beginning and it’s going to be a long road to get Boeing back to where they need to be making safe airplanes.”

Boeing is currently producing significantly fewer than the 38 737 MAXs per month it is permitted under the FAA directive.

A February meeting between Boeing executives and Whitaker lasted about seven hours.

Boeing faces a separate criminal investigation into the MAX 9 mid-air emergency. The Justice Department said this month that Boeing breached its obligations in a 2021 agreement shielding the planemaker from criminal prosecution over fatal 737 MAX crashes.

Boeing denied it has breached the deal. The Justice Department directed Boeing to respond by June 13 and intends to decide whether to prosecute Boeing by July 7.

Reporting by David Shepardson; Editing by Jamie Freed

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