Boeing is to pause production and delivery of its 737 Max aircraft on 25 January, as it calls a “quality stand down” amid ongoing quality-control issues. 

The airframer states that the one-day stand down will take place at its Renton, Washington facility, where its production, delivery and support staff will pause operations “so employees can take part in working sessions focused on quality”. 

Boeing 737 Max at Renton site

Source: The Seattle Times, Ellen Banner, pool reports

A Boeing 737 Max, in Alaska Airlines’ colours, inside Boeing’s Renton final assembly site on 15 June 2022

Boeing Commercial Airplanes chief Stan Deal says the sessions will allow workers involved in the 737 production to “pause, evaluate what we’re doing, how we’re doing it and make recommendations for improvement”. 

According to internal employee communications, the airframer states: “During the stand downs, teammates will participate in hands-on learning, reflection and collaboration to identify where quality and compliance can be improved and create actionable plans that will be tracked to closure.” Boeing is expected to roll out these sessions across its other facilities covering its other aircraft programmes.

Deal, in a separate statement, acknowledged the “significant disruption” the latest spate of issues has caused its airline customers. 

He adds: ”We have let down our airline customers and are deeply sorry for the significant disruption to them, their employees and their passengers. We are taking action on a comprehensive plan to bring these airplanes safely back to service and to improve our quality and delivery performance.” 

It is part of a wider series of steps the airframer is taking to shore up quality control, following a door plug blow-out involving an Alaska Airlines 737 Max 9 that had taken off from Portland, Oregon. 

The early January accident led to the grounding of 171 Max 9s fitted with the same door plugs as the Alaska jet. US regulators have said the grounding remains in effect until it approves “an inspection and maintenance process” that satisfies all its safety requirements.

Boeing is facing additional scrutiny from lawmakers and regulators following the accident in early January, with its quality and safety protocols thrust back into the spotlight. 

Story amended to add additional comments from Stan Deal.