Boeing announced the appointment of an independent advisor to evaluate the quality management of the company’s commercial aircraft.
Retired U.S. Navy Admiral Kirkland H. Donald will serve as special advisor to Boeing President and CEO Dave Calhoun.
According to the company, Admiral Donald will lead a team of external experts to verify the entire quality management system for Boeing commercial jets.
The review will take place both at the manufacturer’s facilities and at its suppliers such as Spirit Aerosystems, responsible for assembling the fuselage of the 737 MAX 9, whose plug door from an Alaska Airlines aircraft was expelled during a flight on January 5.
“Admiral Donald is a recognized leader in ensuring the integrity of some of the most complex and consequential safety and quality systems in the world,” said Calhoun.
I’ve asked him to provide an independent and comprehensive assessment with actionable recommendations for strengthening our oversight of quality in our own factories and throughout our extended commercial airplane production system.”
The retired admiral spent much of his career in the US Navy involved in nuclear energy programs, used as propulsion for various vessels, from submarines to aircraft carriers.
“The program is recognized worldwide for its excellence in reactor safety and reliability,” explained Boeing.
The announcement comes amid a sharp drop in the company’s shares, which closed on January 16 at around US$200, a drop of almost 20%.
The financial market has been pessimistic about the company’s ability to correct the manufacturing problems and expects further delays in deliveries and certification of new variants of the 737 MAX.