Boeing Problems Draw Harsh Criticism from American Airlines’ Chief

Boeing, one of the largest aircraft manufacturers in the world, is facing mounting pressure from its customers and regulators over its recent safety and quality issues. The latest incident involved a panel blowing off an Alaska Airlines 737 Max 9 jet in midair, prompting the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to ground 171 planes of the same model for inspection.

Among the most vocal critics of Boeing is Robert Isom, the CEO of American Airlines, who slammed the company for its unacceptable performance. American Airlines is a major customer of Boeing, with 458 jets in its fleet and 106 more on order, according to the Aviation Week Network Fleet Discovery database.

In a Jan. 25 earnings call, Isom said that Boeing needs to get its "act together" and that the airline will hold the airframer accountable for its problems. "The issues that they've been dealing with over the recent time period ... but also going back a number of years now, are unacceptable," he said.

Isom's frustration is understandable, given that American Airlines has suffered from the fallout of Boeing's previous troubles with the 737 Max 8, which was grounded worldwide for nearly two years after two fatal crashes in 2018 and 2019. The grounding cost the airline billions of dollars in lost revenue and compensation, as well as damaged its reputation and customer confidence.

American Airlines is not the only carrier that is unhappy with Boeing. United Airlines and Alaska Airlines have also expressed their disappointment and dissatisfaction with the company's manufacturing and production issues. United's CEO Scott Kirby said he is "disappointed" in Boeing and that the airline will consider new options in the future. Alaska's CEO Ben Minicucci said he is "very concerned" about the quality of Boeing's products and that the airline will seek remedies from the company.

Boeing's woes are not limited to its customers. The company is also under scrutiny from the U.S. government, which has a long and cozy relationship with the aerospace giant. The FAA and the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) are continuing their investigations into Boeing's practices and procedures, as well as the role of the FAA's oversight system, which delegates some of its responsibilities to Boeing employees.

Boeing's troubles have tarnished its reputation as an icon of American industry and innovation. The company, which claims to be the country's largest exporter, faces stiff competition from its European rival Airbus, which has been gaining market share and customer loyalty. Boeing's future depends on its ability to restore trust and confidence in its products and services, as well as to address the underlying causes of its problems.

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