Boeing's Stan Deal Update After Alaska Airlines Resumes 737 Max 9

Boeing Commercial Airlines President Stan Diehl outlined steps the company is taking to regain customer confidence after the grounding of Boeing's 737 Max 9 aircraft.

In a letter to employees Friday, Deal announced that Alaska Airlines has resumed flights with Boeing's 737 Max 9, with United Airlines, Aeromexico and Turkish Airlines soon to follow. The planes are back in the air after the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) approved a comprehensive inspection and maintenance process with plug doors for all 171 MAX 9 planes.

“Our long-term focus is on improving our quality so that we can regain the trust of our customers, our regulator and the flying public. Obviously, we are disappointed and let them down,” said Diehl. “We deeply regret the significant disruption and frustration to our customers, some of whom have been publicly and unfairly criticized. We have heard from our regulator and have announced that we will not allow 737 MAX production to ramp up until they are satisfied we have improved our quality control. We own these issues and will fix them. ”

Alaska Airlines to resume first Boeing 737 Max 9 flight since grounding

Stan Diehl, CEO of Commercial Aviation at Boeing, during a Bloomberg Television interview at the Dubai Air Show in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, Monday, Nov. 13, 2023. (via Christopher Pike/Bloomberg Getty Images/Getty Images)

Alaska Airlines resumed service of its 737 MAX 9 fleet on Friday with a flight from Seattle to San Diego. Friday's flight was the first since the FAA grounded all 737 MAX 9 planes with plug doors in response to a high-profile accident earlier this month, when a plug door panel on an Alaska Airlines plane exploded in Portland. Oregon.

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The carrier said it began inspections of its MAX 9 fleet Wednesday night after the FAA approved Boeing's inspection criteria. Looking forward to finish A study of all 65 people It allows its 737 MAX 9 aircraft to operate a full flight schedule by the end of next week.

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A Boeing 737 Max 9 for Alaska Airlines is parked at the airport

Deal told Boeing employees the company must work to regain consumer confidence and trust after a plug door exploded in mid-air on a 737 MAX 9 plane. (Jason Redmond/AFP via Getty Images/Getty Images)

“Each of our 737-9 MAXs will return to service only after rigorous inspections are completed and each aircraft is deemed airworthy in accordance with FAA requirements,” Alaska said in a statement. “Individual surveys are expected to take up to 12 hours per flight.”

Deal said Boeing had worked “diligently” to develop inspection criteria that would allow the plane to return to service, and that a leadership team was in the process of reviewing “hundreds” of ideas submitted by employees for quality improvement.

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Alaska Boeing 737 Max 9

An Alaska Airlines Boeing 737 MAX 9 aircraft sits at a gate at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport on January 6, 2024 in Seattle, Washington. Alaska Airlines has resumed service of its 737 MAX 9 aircraft. (Stephen Brashear/Getty Images/Getty Images)

“Over the past century, the people of Boeing have faced considerable challenges and succeeded. This is one of those times,” he wrote. “We have to be better. We have to deliver the right flights every time.”

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A Copa Airlines jet became the first MAX 9 aircraft to return to service on Thursday.

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Alaska and United Airlines, the two U.S. carriers that fly the MAX 9, have 171 MAX 9s since Jan. 6 have canceled thousands of flights this month since landing.

FOX Business' Daniella Genovese and Reuters contributed to this report.

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