'We caused the problem': Boeing CEO takes accountability for Alaska Airlines door plug incident

Dave Calhoun did not issue a financial outlook on the earnings call.

January 31, 2024, 12:32 PM

Boeing CEO Dave Calhoun took responsibility for a door plug getting blown out of an Alaska Airlines flight over Oregon earlier this month in the company's fourth quarter earnings call Wednesday.

"We caused the problem," Calhoun said.

Calhoun said that while the company reported its fourth quarter and 2023 results, "my focus is on Alaska Airlines Flight 1282 and the actions we are taking as a company to earn the confidence of our customers, the confidence of our regulators and the flying public."

"Boeing is accountable for what happened," Calhoun said. "Whatever the specific cause of the accident might turn out to be, an event like this must simply not happen on an airplane that leaves one of our factories. We simply must be better. Our customers deserve better."

Calhoun said he expects results from the National Transportation Safety Board investigation in "relatively short order."

The Boeing logo is seen at the Farnborough International Airshow, in Farnborough, Britain, July 20, 2022.
Peter Cziborra/Reuters, FILE

Calhoun said Boeing instituted additional quality controls and inspections, issued bulletins to suppliers to strengthen the focus on performance and reduce the risk of quality escapes, opened factories to 737 operators for additional oversight, appointed a quality adviser to conduct a comprehensive and independent review of Boeing's commercial airplane quality management system and paused 737 production for a day "at a scale we have never done before" to address quality.

Calhoun said the company will "encourage and reward employees for speaking up."

Boeing currently produces 38 737s per month, and the company will maintain that scale due to restrictions from the Federal Aviation Administration.

Boeing did not issue a financial outlook for 2024.

"Now is not the time for that," Calhoun said.

Boeing made $22 billion in revenue in the fourth quarter and $77 billion in 2023, according to financial statements.

Alaska Airlines resumed flying the Boeing 737 Max 9 following fleet inspections for the first time on Friday.

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