Ryanair CEO Michael O’Leary says he made ‘loud complaints’ to Boeing

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By Dan Sears

The head of Europe’s biggest airline said that Boeing has long had quality control issues and that he has voiced “loud complaints” to the beleaguered US plane manufacturer about its 737 MAX aircraft.

Michael O’Leary, the CEO of Ryanair, said his employees once observed a wrench that was left under the floor of a plane delivered by the Seattle-based company.

“We have been loud in our complaints about the lack of quality control of Boeing over the last two years,” O’Leary told The Independent on Tuesday.

“It is not acceptable that aircraft get delivered at less than 100 percent.”

The incident rekindled worries about Boeing’s jets a few years after a pair of crashes killed 346 people. Investors are also worried about potential delays to aircraft deliveries.

The Federal Aviation Administration announced on Wednesday that it had completed inspections of 40 Boeing 737 MAX 9 airplanes.

Michael O’Leary, the CEO of Ryanair, said his employees once observed a wrench that was left inside a plane delivered by Boeing. REUTERS

The FAA plans to inspect the remaining 131 planes that were grounded after a cabin panel broke off in mid-air during an Alaska Airlines flight from Portland, Ore. to Ontario, Calif. on Jan. 5 — leaving a hole on the side of the aircraft.

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The FAA said on Wednesday it will “thoroughly review the data” from the inspections before deciding if the planes can resume flights.

Alaska Airlines and United Airlines, the two US airlines that use the aircraft and completed the inspections, have had to cancel hundreds of flights since last week and have canceled all MAX 9 flights through Wednesday.

O’Leary is CEO of Ryanair, Europe’s largest airline by volume of passengers. AFP via Getty Images

Both Alaska and United said they found loose bolts during inspections.

O’Leary said that he still had “utmost confidence” in Boeing CEO Dave Calhoun.

He told The Independent that his company noticed improvements when it recently received a delivery of 12 planes from Boeing.

Boeing 737 MAX 9 planes were grounded after a door fell out of the fuselage of a Boeing plane during an Alaska Airlines flight on Jan. 5. AP

The chair of the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) and FAA safety chief are briefing senators on the investigation on Wednesday.

Alaska Airlines and United Airlines, the two US airlines that use the aircraft and completed the inspections, have had to cancel hundreds of flights since last week. AP

Kirkland Donald will lead a team of outside experts in evaluating quality practices at Boeing Commercial Airplanes and its supply chain and provide recommendations to Boeing CEO David Calhoun and the board of directors.

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Spirit AeroSystems, which builds and installs the panel that flew off in mid-air, said it was “supporting Boeing’s efforts with the FAA and the affected airlines as they inspect the 737-9 fleet and work to safely return those airplanes to service.”

Calhoun will visit Spirit AeroSystems’ production facilities in Wichita, Kan., on Wednesday to speak with employees alongside that company’s CEO, Pat Shanahan.

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