Boeing CEO Skips Meeting: Chairman to Face Upset Airlines After Production Woes

In a surprising move, Boeing's chairman, Larry Kellner, is scheduled to meet with representatives from major airlines, but without the company's CEO, David Calhoun, present. This unusual arrangement comes amid rising tensions between Boeing and its customers, fueled by recent production problems and a concerning mid-air incident involving an Alaska Airlines 737 MAX 9.


Airline CEOs reportedly requested these meetings to express their dissatisfaction directly to Boeing leadership. The Alaska Air incident, where a mid-flight panel blowout resulted in an emergency landing, has reignited concerns about Boeing's manufacturing quality control. This follows a series of production issues that have delayed deliveries and frustrated airline schedules.

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Sources familiar with the situation suggest airlines see Kellner, a former CEO of Continental Airlines, as someone who understands their perspective. They hope for a frank discussion regarding the ongoing production issues and a clear plan to address them. Kellner's absence of direct involvement in recent production decisions might make him more receptive to their concerns. Boeing's decision to send Kellner instead of Calhoun has sparked speculation. Some see it as an attempt to deflect criticism away from Calhoun's leadership.  However, others believe it could be a strategic move to leverage Kellner's experience in airline operations to bridge the communication gap and rebuild trust with customers.

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The outcome of these meetings will be closely watched by the aviation industry. Airlines are eager for assurances from Boeing that production issues will be resolved swiftly and that the 737 MAX remains a safe and reliable aircraft. Boeing, on the other hand, needs to demonstrate a commitment to regaining the confidence of its customers and ensuring on-time deliveries. This is a critical juncture for Boeing, and how it navigates these conversations will significantly impact its relationship with airlines and its overall recovery.

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