DALLAS – Alaska Airlines (AS) CEO Ben Minicucci apologized to passengers this week in a video published nearly two weeks after the door plug on one of its flights blew off mid-flight, leaving a gaping hole in the side of the plane.
“To all who have been impacted by these disruptions, I am sorry,” he told customers. “When you make plans, you put your trust in us, and we haven’t been able to deliver.”
“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 the video, which was posted to YouTube on Tuesday. “I sincerely apologize to everyone on board the flight for what you experienced.”
Minicucci goes on to discuss his quick decision to ground all of the Boeing 737-9 aircraft AS flies and the subsequent FAA grounding of all aircraft of the type the next day. “Owning safety is our number one foundational value and one that is deeply personal,” he continues. “That value guides our actions today and every day.”
He then goes on to note a few updates from the past few days and outline steps going forward.
FAA, NTSB Investigate
The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and the National Transportation Safety Board are investigating what caused the door plug on the flight to blow out. The aircraft was still relatively new, having been delivered to AS on October 31 of last year.
The FAA is also investigating Boeing’s manufacturing practices and production lines, “including those involving subcontractor Spirit AeroSystems, bolstering its oversight of Boeing.
In the video, Minicucci says that AS is canceling between 110 and 150 flights per day as 20% of its fleet is 737 Max 9 planes. The planes will be returned to service “only when all findings have been fully resolved and meet the stringent standards of Boeing, the FAA, and Alaska Airlines.”…