Boeing CEO says manufacturer is at fault for Alaska incident
Despite the ongoing investigation into the Alaska Airlines door plug blow-out incident, Boeing’s CEO Dave Calhoun has seemingly admitted the company was at fault.
The 737 MAX family of planes has been a significant problem for the plane maker over several years, and the midair blow-out on the MAX 9 jet has thrown future orders with major airlines into doubt.
During a call to investors and the media, Calhoun declared “We caused the problem."
While we report our financial results today, our full focus is on taking comprehensive actions to strengthen quality at Boeing, including listening to input from our 737 employees that do this work every day,” Calhoun added.
Along with the acknowledgement, Calhoun and Boeing provided an update on discussions with the FAA after the incident on flight 1282.
“The company continues to cooperate transparently with the FAA following the Alaska Airlines Flight 1282 accident involving a 737-9. Commercial Airplanes is taking immediate actions to strengthen quality on the 737 programme.”
Qantas calls in McKinsey consultants as issues mount
Australian flag carrier Qantas has brought in McKinsey, the global management consultancy firm. The management expert is the second such firm to be employed by the airline in the past five months, a sign of worry in the higher echelons of the Australian airline.
McKinsey will focus on reliability, according to reports, as the airline slipped to just 70% on-time departures and even worse figures for on-time arrivals.
The international firm has agreed to what it reported to be a 12-week contract with Qantas.
New Qantas CEO Vanessa Hudson had previously brought in experts from the Boston Consulting Group in September with the aim of improving customer services and how the airline was viewed by the Australian public.
In the same month Hudson was forced to make a public apology acknowledging a “loss of trust” in the airline.
Wizz Air pays £1.2m to passengers after UK CAA action
Budget airline Wizz Air has paid £1.24m to passengers after the UK’s Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) told it to reassess compensation claims following high numbers of complaints about its treatment of customers.
The aviation regulator originally took action against Wizz in 2023 when it said the airline’s treatment of passengers had been “unacceptable” after customers complained that they had not been paid what they were owed.
The CAA told the Hungarian airline to re-examine 25,000 claims from passengers around issues such as compensation and care for delayed flights since 18 March 2022, and said around 6,000 cases have seen additional payments as a result.
Wizz has also changed its policies to ensure it complied with its customer care and re-routing obligations in the future, with the CAA saying that sample checks of the re-examined claims “provided confidence” that the airline had now met its obligations.
Japan Airlines names Tottori as first female president
Mitsuko Tottori has been named the new president of Japan Airlines (JAL). She is the first woman to ascend to the top of the company after a career progressing through its management structure.
Tottori’s appointment was described as “deeply symbolic” because Japan’s workforce gender gap is almost double the OECD average and the highest in the G7.
Women in Japan typically earn only 78% of men’s earnings for the same work. The promotion is the second time a woman has been elevated to the top job at a major airline in as many weeks. Joanna Geraghty was made CEO of JetBlue after a long career at the US carrier.
Tottori has worked at JAL for much of her career. She began at the company as cabin crew in 1985, before progressing through senior management roles. She is currently a senior managing executive director and will start her new role on 1 April.
Air France-KLM scraps cargo deal after less than a year
Franco-Dutch airline firm Air France-KLM has cut short its cargo agreement with French shipping giant CMA CGM. The deal was commercial, but CMA CGM’s investment and partnership also extended the freight carrier taking a seat on Air France-KLM’s board of directors.
The agreement was made in May 2022 and was effective from April 2023, but will cease at the end of March 2024.
The partners described the change as an “evolution” in their relationship but explained that a “tight regulatory environment” in key markets meant they would end their current agreements.
“As a consequence, Air France-KLM and CMA CGM today announce their decision to withdraw from their existing agreements from 31 March 2024,” a statement added.
Although the firms said they were engaged in discussions on terms post-31 March, but Air France-KLM said they would “operate independently” from the start of April.