Boeing appoints special advisor to lead quality review


US aircraft manufacturer Boeing has appointed an independent advisor to lead the in-depth assessment of its commercial quality management system.

On 16 January, Boeing named Admiral Kirkland H. Donald, U.S. Navy (Ret.) as special advisor to President and CEO Dave Calhoun. The appointment is effective immediately.

Independent Team of Outside Experts

Admiral Donald and a team of outside experts will conduct a thorough assessment of Boeing’s quality management system for commercial airplanes, including quality programs and practices in Boeing manufacturing facilities and its oversight of commercial supplier quality.

His recommendations will be provided to Calhoun and to the Aerospace Safety Committee of Boeing’s Board of Directors.

“Admiral Donald is a recognized leader in ensuring the integrity of some of the most complex and consequential safety and quality systems in the world,” said CEO Dave Calhoun.

Calhoun emphasized the importance of strengthening oversight across the entire airplane production system.

“I’ve asked him to provide an independent and comprehensive assessment with actionable recommendations for strengthening our oversight of quality in our own factories and throughout our extended commercial airplane production system.”

“He and his team will have any and all support he needs from me and from across The Boeing Company.”

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Admiral Donald, with a career spanning 37 years as a nuclear trained submarine officer, brings a wealth of experience to this critical role.

His service as Director of the Naval Nuclear Propulsion Program highlights his prior expertise in managing complex safety and quality systems.

Assessment and Recommendation Process

The assessment, led by Admiral Donald and a team of external experts, will delve into Boeing’s quality management system for commercial airplanes.

This includes an in-depth examination of quality programs and practices within Boeing’s manufacturing facilities, as well as the oversight of commercial supplier quality.

The recommendations resulting from this assessment will then be presented to Calhoun and the Aerospace Safety Committee of Boeing’s Board of Directors.

The appointment of Admiral Donald follows a recent message to employees by Boeing Commercial Airplanes President and CEO Stan Deal, who outlined immediate actions in response to the Alaska Airlines Flight 1282 inflight incident.

The manufacturer has been working with affected airlines to inspect their 737-9 fleet and ensure compliance with specifications, especially around the mid-exit door plugs.

Deal acknowledged the need for a re-evaluation of quality practices within Boeing’s factories and across the production system.

Despite previous efforts to strengthen the Quality Management System (QMS), recent incidents have forced Boeing to take further immediate actions to enhance quality assurance and controls.

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