Press Conference on Boeing’s Roadmap for Continuous Improvement

Administrator Michael Whitaker (October 2023 - Present)

Good afternoon, everyone. Thanks for joining us. 

In the immediate aftermath of the January 5th door plug incident, the FAA took unprecedented steps to increase the oversight of Boeing. That meant everything for more safety inspectors in the facilities to increased oversight of the production process. Importantly, we capped production of the 737 Max until these issues are resolved. 

Today, in response to our request in February, Boeing provided us their roadmap for continuous improvement. We just wrapped up a three-hour meeting to review it and talk about future implementation. 

We underscored that they must follow through on implementing corrective actions and transform their safety culture. This is a guide for a new way for Boeing to do business. The FAA will make sure that Boeing makes lasting changes using all the tools at their disposal. 

I made it clear to Boeing CEO, Dave Calhoun, and other senior leaders, that this plan does not mark the end of our increased oversight of Boeing and its suppliers, but the beginning of the next chapter. 

We will not approve production increases beyond the current cap until we're satisfied. Bottom line, we will continue to make sure every airplane that comes off the line is safe and reliable - regardless of how many planes Boeing builds. 

We need to see a strong and unwavering commitment to safety and quality that endures over time. This is about systemic change, and there's a lot of work to be done. Our goal is to make sure that Boeing makes the necessary changes and has the right tools in place to sustain those changes. 

Boeing has laid out their roadmap and now they need to execute. First and foremost, Boeing is now required to have a mandatory Safety Management System, which will ensure a structured, repeatable, systematic approach to identify hazards and manage risk. 

They have also committed to increasing employee training and communication; strengthening the anonymous reporting system that employees can use without fear of reprisal; boosting supplier oversight; making sure that things happen in the right sequence at every step of production; and getting more input from users of the system, including pilots. 

The FAA will provide oversight at every step of the way in this process. We certify every 737 Max before it can be put into service, and we will continue to do so. 

We will also provide enhanced oversight of Boeing and its suppliers. Practically speaking, this means more safety inspectors in the Boeing and Spirit facilities; more feedback from company employees to gauge the effectiveness of change; additional inspections at critical points of the production process; and monitoring metrics to identify areas of concern. 

Safety is a team sport; everyone has a role to play. Boeing must do their part, and we will be there to make sure they do that. Appreciate you being here today, and I'm happy to take some questions.