Boeing CEO says workmanship to blame for 737 problem

Apr 27, 2011

Boeing’s CEO says it was likely sloppy work, not a design flaw, that resulted in a hole in a Southwest Airlines jet. On April 1st, a Boeing 737 developed a 5-foot tear in the roof while in flight.

During a conference call to discuss earnings, Boeing Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer Jim McNerney responded to a New York Times reporter's question about what the company had learned about the problem jet.

“The initial data that we’re all seeing is suggesting a possible workmanship issue on an (emphasis on an) airplane rather than a design issue across a fleet of airplanes,” he said.

In other words, no need to worry about all the other 737-300’s out there flying.

McNerney’s assessment follows the preliminary report from the National Transportation Safety Board that found the holes drilled in the Southwest jet while it was being manufactured were too big for the rivets and not properly lined up. It’s the sort of thing that causes stress over time. The plane had been flying since the mid 90’s.

Since the incident, Southwest and other airlines have inspected their 737’s built at the same Boeing factory.