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Alaska Airlines found “some loose bolts on several Boeing 737 MAX 9 aircraft.”

Alaska Airlines found “some loose bolts on several Boeing 737 MAX 9 aircraft.”

The company's CEO says he is “more than frustrated and disappointed” by the incident

Ben Minicucci, CEO of Alaska Airlines, revealed that the airline found “some loose bolts on several Boeing 737 MAX 9 aircraft” during an interview on NBC Nightly News with Lester Holt.

It was the CEO's first interview since a door lock on one of his Max 9 planes came loose from the side of the fuselage just minutes after takeoff on a flight between Portland, Oregon, and Ontario, California, forcing the pilot to respond to an emergency. Landing.

“I'm beyond frustrated and disappointed. I'm angry. This happened to Alaska Airlines. It happened to our passengers and it happened to our employees,” Minicucci said, according to excerpts published before the interview aired.

He added: “Boeing is better than this. Flight 1282 should never have happened.”

Boeing's 737 factory will perform what the company calls “quality improvement” at its Renton, Wash., facility on Thursday, the company announced Tuesday.

“During the session, the production, delivery and support teams will take a one-day break so employees can engage in quality-focused work sessions. This is part of the spot quality metrics recently shared by Boeing Commercial Airplanes CEO Stan Deal,” the company said in a statement. .

An internal notice sent by Boeing to employees indicates that the 737 shutdown is the first of several closures that will be implemented at the company's facilities.

NBC asked Minicucci whether Boeing has a quality control problem that extends beyond a single plane.

“I think that's the question, what is Boeing going to do differently in its quality program to make sure that when we take delivery of an aircraft, it's at the highest level of excellence and that's what needs to be different going forward,” he said.

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The official also added that the company is adding additional supervision to the aircraft manufacturer's production line.

On Sunday, the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) urged airlines to inspect so-called door latches on an earlier version of the Boeing 737. After recent inspections of new Max 9 planes, United Airlines and Alaska Airlines found loose bolts.

The Federal Aviation Administration opened a formal investigation into Boeing's quality control about two weeks ago. The agency said it continues to analyze data collected from inspections of 40 samples of aircraft as it considers how to determine whether planes are safe to fly again. Inspections take about 10 hours per door, Minicucci mentioned in the interview.

“We have disappointed our airline customers and deeply regret the significant disruption we have caused these airlines, their employees and their passengers,” Stan Deal, CEO of Boeing Commercial Airplanes, said in a statement. “We are adopting a comprehensive plan to return these aircraft to safety and improve quality and delivery performance.” We will follow the FAA's lead and support our customers at every stage of the process. “

The CEO of United Airlines, one of Boeing's largest aircraft customers, also expressed his frustration with the company.

“I'm disappointed that…this is still happening at Boeing. This is nothing new,” United CEO Scott Kirby said in a Tuesday interview with CNBC. “We need Boeing to be successful. But they have faced ongoing manufacturing challenges. They need to take action.”

NBC said Minicucci told the network that Alaska Airlines would continue to fly the entire fleet of Boeing aircraft. On the other hand, United seemed more insecure about its relationship with Boeing.

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United has 79 Max 9 planes, more than any other airline, and had initially scheduled about 8,000 flights with the plane this month before the accident, according to aviation analytics firm Cirium. Boeing's future is uncertain regarding orders for the 737 MAX 10, a newer, larger and more expensive version of the 737 MAX that has not yet been certified by the FAA.

“I think shutting down MAX 9 was probably the straw that broke the camel's back for us,” Kirby said. “Let's build a plan that doesn't include the 10 cap.”

*Chris Isidore and Hanna Ziyadi contributed to this report.