Change of boss at Boeing’s Max program after dramatic incident

SEATTLE (dpa-AFX) – There is a change in boss in Boeing’s 737 Max program after a dramatic incident with one of the machines. The top manager previously responsible, Ed Clark, will be leaving the company, Boeing announced on Wednesday. Katie Ringgold, who was previously responsible for deliveries, will be her successor.

At the beginning of January, a part of the fuselage in seat row 26 broke off shortly after take-off in the climb of a virtually new 737-9 Max from the US airline Alaska Airlines with more than 170 people on board. At this point, some configurations of the more seat type have a door. The affected variant of the 737-9 Max instead has a cover that closes the opening. No one was seriously injured in the incident – however, by a lucky coincidence, the two seats directly at the opening remained empty.

After an investigation lasting several weeks, the US accident investigation authority NTSB assumes that fastening bolts were missing from the fragment. Ringgold will also take over management of the Renton factory from Clark, where the machines are assembled. The incident put pressure on Boeing to quickly improve quality controls.

Boeing is now creating a new position in the top management of the commercial aircraft division. Elizabeth Lund will take care of quality control both within the group and among suppliers, wrote division boss Stan Deal in an email to employees. The fuselage of the 737 Max models is primarily built by the supplier Spirit Aerosystems.

After the incident, the US aviation regulator FAA halted Boeing’s plans to expand production of the 737 Max aircraft until further notice. The group needs this to process the order books – the airlines already have to prepare for long waiting times./so/DP/he

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