Boeing removes executive from 737 Max program after midair blowout

Boeing has removed executive Ed Clark from its 737 Max passenger jet program following a midair blowout that highlighted ongoing problems with the aircraft.


Continued Problems with the 737 Max

The 737 Max, Boeing's popular plane, has faced repeated issues over the past five years. It was grounded for 20 months in 2019 and 2020 after two crashes resulted in the deaths of 346 people. More recently, a door plug on a Boeing 737 Max flown by Alaska Airlines blew out, causing significant damage to the plane.

A preliminary report from the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) revealed that the four bolts responsible for holding the door plug in place were missing when the plane left Boeing's factory. The report did not assign blame for the missing bolts, but Boeing CEO Dave Calhoun took responsibility for the incident.

Changes in Leadership

After Ed Clark's removal from the 737 Max program, Boeing announced a reshuffling of executives in its Boeing Commercial Airplanes unit. Elizabeth Lund was appointed as the new Senior Vice President for BCA Quality, taking over from her previous role as senior vice president and general manager of airplane programs.

Mike Fleming, who previously served as senior vice president of development and customer service, will assume Lund's former position. Katie Ringgold, former vice president of 737 Max deliveries, will now oversee the Max program.

Impact on future plans

In addition to the grounding of the 737 Max 8 and Max 9, Boeing's ongoing problems have also delayed the certification of two new versions of the jet: the Max 7 and the Max 10, a stretched version.

The CEOs of United Airlines, Southwest, and Delta Air Lines, all major Boeing customers, have expressed concerns about receiving the new versions of the planes they had ordered. United CEO Scott Kirby specifically mentioned the Alaska Air incident as a factor in reassessing their plans for the Max 10.