It’s another blow for Boeing since a Jan. 5 episode in which a door panel blew off a Max 9 operated by Alaska Airlines. That forced the grounding of about 170 Max 9s, and has shaken the sector’s confidence in Boeing’s production processes.
The Biden administration is increasing the pressure. “Let me be clear: This won’t be back to business as usual for Boeing,” Mike Whitaker, an F.A.A. administrator, said in a statement on Wednesday. The federal government also intends to step up scrutiny of the company’s quality control processes. “Right now everything is on the table,” said Pete Buttigieg, the transportation secretary.
Could Washington go further? Questions are swirling over whether the White House will rescind a deferred prosecution deal Boeing agreed with the Trump administration after two fatal 737 Max crashes, The Lever reports.
Boeing says its problems are fixable. After meeting with lawmakers in Washington on Wednesday, Dave Calhoun, Boeing’s C.E.O., struck a reassuring note. The Max 9 issues could be resolved “in days and weeks, not months,” he said, even as airline customers have expressed growing skepticism in recent days.
It wasn’t all bad news for Boeing. The F.A.A. approved new inspection guidelines for the Max 9s. That clears the way for the plane to fly again soon, with airlines allowed to resume operations once their checks are completed. United and Alaska Airlines said they expected the Max 9s to return to the skies in the coming days.