Scott Kirby, CEO of United Airlines Holdings, Inc., speaks at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s Global Aerospace Summit on September 12, 2023 in Washington, DC.
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United has had dozens of Boeing 737 Max 9s grounded since loose bolts were discovered this month.The grounding came after a door plug blew off an Alaska Airlines aircraft mid-flight.Bloomberg reported United CEO Scott Kirby doubts Boeing’s ability to handle the fallout.
Kirby has issues with how Boeing has handled the fallout of the Alaska Airlines incident on January 5 in which a door plug flew off mid-flight and forced an emergency landing, the report said, citing people familiar with the matter.
Following the incident, the Federal Aviation Administration grounded 171 Boeing 737 Max 9 aircraft for inspections.
Inspections at United revealed loose bolts in its Boeing 737 Max 9 aircraft. United, which said the loose bolts were related to the door plug, canceled over 200 flights and said it was working on readying the Max 9 to return to service.
Bloomberg reported that Kirby has expressed doubts about Boeing’s ability to recover from the incidents. Meanwhile, United, one of the planemaker’s biggest customers, has had dozens of planes grounded for weeks.
United on Monday said the company expects a first-quarter adjusted loss of 35 to 85 cents a share due to the Boeing 737 Max 9 grounding.
United and Boeing had no comment when reached by Business Insider.
Kirby’s frustrations pile on to pressures faced by Boeing’s leadership, as the FAA on Sunday said it was expanding its investigation into the company’s planes. In addition to the inspections on the Max 9, the FAA told airlines to conduct inspections on another Boeing aircraft, the 737-900ER, which uses the same door plug design.
United is among the airlines that have the 737-900ER in their fleet, as well as Alaska and Delta Airlines.
While no one was seriously injured in the Alaska incident that kicked off the latest scrutiny of Boeing, federal officials said it was pure luck that no one happened to be sitting in the two seats that were “torqued.”