Alaska Airlines CEO Says He Doesn’t Trust Boeing Quality, Won’t Keep Hawaiian’s Airbus Planes?

The CEO of Alaska Airlines, Ben Minicucci, has released a video update on the airline’s plans for the Boeing 737 MAX 9, in light of the variant’s grounding after one of their flights from Portland lost a door plug leading to rapid depressurization.

He notes that they voluntarily grounded the fleet type before the government did. They’re cancelling 110 – 150 flights per day.

Minicucci, though, makes a couple of interesting points.

  • They are doing their own inspections of the planes and therefore do not trust Boeing to do them. I reported earlier in the week that airlines would be doing their own oversight inspections, of Boeing 737 factories to review productions and quality procedures.

  • Alaska will remain ‘proudly all Boeing’, it is “a commitment.” But does he realize he’s in the process of buying a heavily Airbus fleet from Hawaiian Airlines? They haven’t publicly spoken to their plans for Hawaiian’s fleet, though it’s broadly assumed that eventually the Airbus planes go away (they just finished offloading the Airbus narrowbodies they took on when buying Virgin America).

Boeing has major problems. So does Spirit Aerosystems, which produces many of the components of their planes, it seems. But that, too, is a Boeing problem. It’s no longer possible to paper over those. And airlines that buy and operate Boeing aircraft are going to have to take on greater responsibility for safety assurance. The Boeing brand has been damaged.

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. Boeing after purchasing MD in 1997 adopted MD’s tactics and it has cost them big time, they need to fire top brass and get back to the day when it was a proud corporation then they can say “ If it ain’t Boeing I’m not going “ until then cross your fingers!

  2. I’m a longtime Hawaiian Airlines passenger. Every time I’ve flown Alaska it has been third rate service . Their planes are filthy and I contracted pneumonia on a short flight from Los Angeles to Seattle that not only resulted in me being hospitalized several years ago but a rife with the relative I was enroute to visit to this day. Now I read Alaska is going to sell off Hawaiians Airbus fleet. I fly First Class and Airbus First Class configurations if far better than Boeings. A first rate airline being taken over by a third rate airline is a recipe for disaster. And what kind of airline continues to fly a fleet of defective planes knowing there is a sever problem with them? I sure as hell will never fly on a 737 Max.

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