Boeing chief admits lapse in quality control after Alaska Airlines mid-air door blowout

Business

The head of beleaguered plane maker Boeing has said “a quality escape” occurred in safety checks which led to a mid-flight blowout when a door ‘plug’ came off during a flight involving one of the company’s jets.

Chief executive Dave Calhoun explained that the “quality escape” to which he referred was “anything that could potentially contribute to an accident”, he told CNBC, in his first interview after the incident.

The blow out occurred when a window and chunk of fuselage blew out of one of Alaska Airlines’ aircraft on 5 January, shortly after it took off from an airport in Portland, Oregon, on route to an airport in California.

It has resulted in the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) grounding all 171 Boeing 737 MAX 9 planes operated by US airlines.

Answering questions on the further inspections being undertaken by airlines, Mr Calhoun said: “We’re going to want to know what broke down in our gauntlet of inspections, what broke down in the original work that allowed for that escape to happen.”

One of the world’s largest carriers, United Airlines, had identified problems with doors on its 737 Max 9 aircraft, the same make of plane that experienced the blowout.

Both United and Alaska Airlines told the manufacturer, that the issue is “serious, serious”, Mr Calhoun said.

“It’s a safety incident. And nobody’s going to live with that, period.”

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