Andrew McIntosh, Staff Writer
Boeing has turned to a longtime executive who helped steer the company through the Dreamliner crisis to help with the jet maker’s efforts to safely return its grounded 737 MAX to airline service.
Mike Fleming has been named vice president of what Boeing internally is calling the “737 Max Return to Service and Global Aviation Safety System.”
Boeing Commercial Airplanes President and CEO Stan Deal and Boeing General Services President and CEO Ted Colbert announced Fleming’s move to workers in an internal email.
“Mike has been a central player in our return to service efforts, working closely with airline customers and Boeing’s numerous services and support teams,” the message from Deal and Colbert said.
“Aligning him under Boeing Commercial Airplanes with close connection to the BGS team will ensure we continue to operate efficiently as a One Boeing team supporting our customers, preparing airplanes to safely return to service and providing top-notch support once they are back in the air,” the executives added.
“Additionally, Mike will lead our efforts on global aviation safety engaging with customers, regulators and the industry to further strengthen safety across the aviation ecosystem,” the CEOs said.
Fleming is now a member of the Boeing Commercial Airplanes leadership team. He reports to Deal, with whom he had worked at Boeing’s General Services unit for the past three years.
Fleming’s new job involves perhaps the greatest challenge in the company’s history.
The company now has 400 737 Max jets parked and stored across Seattle, Moses Lake and Everett and another 387 Maxes delivered to airlines that were grounded in March 2019 and are not flying passengers.
Each aircraft must be carefully inspected and its systems updated with improved flight-control systems once modifications are approved by the Federal Aviation Administration.
Aerospace analyst Kevin Michaels of AeroDynmanic Advisory told aerospace suppliers attending the recent Pacific Northwest Aerospace Alliance conference in Lynnwood that the job may take Boeing up to two years.