Boeing removes 737 Max programme leader after mid-air blowout

Ed Clark has left the company over concerns about production and safety

The fuselage plug area of Alaska Airlines Flight 1282 Boeing 737-9 Max, which was forced to make an emergency landing earlier this year. Reuters
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The head of Boeing's 737 Max programme, Ed Clark, has left the plane maker amid intense scrutiny around production and safety measures following a January 5 mid-air panel blowout.

Mr Clark, who had been with the plane maker for nearly 18 years, departed as Boeing, after dealing with its latest crisis, has vowed to bolster quality efforts.

The changes came after Boeing's board met this week, a source familiar with the matter told Reuters.

Boeing has been scrambling to explain and strengthen safety procedures after the door plug on a brand new Alaska Airlines 737 Max 9 detached during flight.

Mr Clark oversaw the company's production facility in Renton, Washington, where the plane involved in the accident was completed.

He is being replaced by Katie Ringgold as vice president and general manager, according to the memo, which was sent to staff by Boeing Commercial Aeroplanes chief executive Stan Deal.

The memo was first reported by The Seattle Times on Wednesday.

The newspaper quoted the letter as saying the change was necessary for “enhanced focus on ensuring that every aeroplane we deliver meets or exceeds all quality and safety requirements”.

The leadership changes come ahead of Boeing chief executive Dave Calhoun's planned meeting with Federal Aviation Administration head Mike Whitaker next week after the regulator travelled to Renton to tour the Boeing 737 plant.

The FAA grounded the Max 9 for several weeks in January and has capped Boeing's production of the Max while it audits the plane maker's manufacturing process.

The panel that flew off the jet appeared to be missing four key bolts, according to a preliminary report from the US National Safety Transportation Board in early February.

According to the report, the panel in question was removed to repair rivet damage, but the NTSB has not found evidence the bolts were reinstalled.

The panel is a plug in place on some 737 Max 9s instead of an additional emergency exit.

Alaska Airlines grounds Boeing 737 MAX 9 for checks after emergency landing

Alaska Airlines grounds Boeing 737 MAX 9 for checks after emergency landing
Updated: February 22, 2024, 4:23 AM