International Aviation Chief Expresses Confidence in Boeing CEO Addressing Safety Concerns

The CEO of Boeing, Dave Calhoun, is the ideal leader to navigate the company through its recent safety issues, according to the head of the world's largest airline trade organization. This comes after a panel from a 737 MAX 9 plane was dislodged during a flight last month, leading to widespread concerns about Boeing's manufacturing standards. The incident, which occurred on an Alaska Air flight on January 5, has drawn criticism from regulators, legislators, and some airline executives. 


However, Willie Walsh, the Director General of the International Air Transport Association (IATA), believes that despite the industry's anger over the incident, Calhoun and his team have done a commendable job in accepting responsibility and pledging to find solutions. Walsh, speaking at an industry summit in Singapore, expressed confidence in Calhoun's ability to rectify the situation and praised Boeing's response to the crisis. 


Walsh also dismissed concerns that Boeing's safety issues would lead to a decrease in orders for the manufacturer's planes or deter passengers from flying with airlines that operate the 737 MAX 9. On the eve of the Singapore Airshow, Asia's premier aviation event, Walsh commented on the buzz surrounding the first overseas flight of China's indigenous passenger jet, the COMAC C919. The C919, currently certified only in China with four units in operation, performed a fly-by in Singapore. Walsh anticipates that the C919 will primarily serve the vast domestic market in China and it could take several decades before China is capable of producing a jet that can compete with Boeing and Airbus internationally. 

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He acknowledged the impressive progress but cautioned that it would take some time before they could be considered as serious competitors. The global aviation industry has been grappling with significant supply chain disruptions for months, due to a surge in travel following COVID-related layoffs and shutdowns, leading to delays in everything from engines to windscreens. Walsh described the supply chain situation as "unprecedented" but noted that it was gradually improving, although it remains a significant issue.

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