Boeing Directors to Hold Meetings with Airline Executives Amidst Growing Frustration

Boeing Co. is gearing up for crucial discussions with some of its largest airline customers as frustration mounts over the aerospace giant’s ongoing crisis, which is impacting their operations.

Directors from Boeing plan to convene with top executives from major airlines in a series of meetings set to commence next week. Notably, Dave Calhoun, Boeing’s CEO, will not be participating in these sessions, which are being spearheaded by Larry Kellner, the chairman of Boeing’s board. Kellner, along with two to three other directors, will engage in these discussions to gather unfiltered feedback from key stakeholders in the aviation industry.

The initiative underscores the pressing need for Boeing to address customer concerns as it navigates yet another crisis surrounding its 737 Max jetliner. The company is facing challenges related to manufacturing quality and safety, highlighted by recent incidents such as a fuselage panel blowing out of an airborne 737 Max.

The decision to engage with airline executives follows a call for action from top U.S. airline chiefs, who expressed interest in meeting with Boeing directors during a recent Airlines for America trade group session. The outreach aims to facilitate constructive dialogue between Boeing and its customers, providing an opportunity to address pressing issues and rebuild trust.

While specific meeting schedules are yet to be finalized, discussions are expected to involve major U.S. carriers as well as key international airlines. Boeing’s largest U.S. customers, including American Airlines Group Inc., United Airlines Holdings Inc., Delta Air Lines Inc., Southwest Airlines Co., and Alaska Air Group Inc., are likely to participate.

In response to inquiries, Southwest Airlines emphasized the importance of ongoing communication with Boeing, indicating a commitment to addressing challenges collaboratively.

The move comes amidst growing frustration expressed by CEOs of prominent airlines, including Michael O’Leary of Ryanair Holdings Plc, who called on Boeing to enhance its performance during a recent airline conference. While Ryanair won’t participate in the meetings with Boeing directors, the sentiment underscores the urgency for Boeing to address concerns raised by its customers.

Representatives for Boeing and the participating airlines either had no comment or were unavailable for immediate response, highlighting the sensitivity and significance of these forthcoming discussions. As Boeing navigates turbulent waters, proactive engagement with its customers signals a commitment to transparency, accountability, and collaborative problem-solving in addressing industry challenges.

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