Alaska Airlines CEO ‘angry’ over Max 9 issues, makes ‘demand’ of Boeing


Alaska Airlines Chief Executive Officer Ben Minicucci vented his frustration at Boeing after one of its planes lost a door plug when it was in mid-flight.

“I’m angry. I’m more than frustrated and disappointed. I am angry,” he told NBC Nightly News. “This happened to Alaska Airlines. It happened to our guests and happened to our people.”

The Alaska Airlines CEO said the airline found loose bolts on many of the 737 MAX 9 jets it inspected in its fleet.

“And — my demand on Boeing is what are they going to do to improve their quality programs in-house,” he added.


Alaska Boeing 737 MAX 9

Minicucci said the under-fire airline has added its own oversight on the production line at Boeing.

“We’re sending our audit people to audit their quality control systems and processes to make sure that every aircraft that comes off that production line that comes to Alaska has the highest levels of excellence and quality,” he said.

United Airlines CEO Scott Kirby has also said that it also found additional loose bolts on its Max 9 planes.

Alaska Airlines Boeing 737 Max 9

Minicucci, who became president of Alaska Airlines in 2016 and began his career as an engineer, has attributed none of the blame to the airlines, but has apologized to guests on board.

“And it’s clear to me that we received an airplane from Boeing with a faulty door,” he told the outlet. “Now the NTSB investigation is going to figure out why that was a faulty door, whether it was bad installation, missing hardware, a manufacturing issue, but there’s no doubt that Alaska received an airplane off the production line with a faulty door.”


In a video apology on Jan. 17, Minicucci expressed his gratitude to the crew onboard at the time of the emergency landing for their “extraordinary professionalism.”

“I’m so incredibly grateful to the crew who responded with extraordinary professionalism and returned the flight and all aboard safely to Portland,” Minicucci said in a video posted to YouTube. “I sincerely apologize to everyone on board the flight for what you experienced.”

Alaska Airlines Flight 1282 had been bound for Ontario, California and suffered depressurization soon after departing, in Portland, Oregon.

Following the incident, the FAA announced it was investigating Boeing to determine if the company failed to ensure that its products were safe for operation after the door plug blew out at 16,000 feet, forcing the California-bound flight to make an emergency landing back in Portland. 

The agency also announced it was investigating Boeing’s manufacturing practices and production lines, “including those involving subcontractor Spirit AeroSystems, bolstering its oversight of Boeing, and examining potential system change.” 

Boeing did not immediately respond to FOX Business’s requests for comment regarding Minicucci’s comments.

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