Boeing sees no delays to plane deliveries to India because of MAX 9 issues

By Aditi Shah and Rishika Sadam

HYDERABAD, India (Reuters) -Boeing expects no meaningful delays of plane deliveries to India because of the MAX 9 issues even as it intensifies quality scrutiny of its 737 jets production programme, a top company executive said on Friday.

An incident where a cabin panel on a 737 MAX 9 jet blew out shortly after an Alaska Airlines plane took off has shaken global airlines’ confidence in Boeing’s planes nearly five years after a pair of crashes killed 346 people.

“Our long term objective is adding even more scrutiny to the quality side of things,” Darren Hulst, Boeing’s vice president for commercial marketing said at the “Wings India” air show in the southern city of Hyderabad.

Hulst said Boeing does not see any meaningful delays in deliveries as of now.

Boeing earlier this week named Kirkland Donald to advise the planemaker’s CEO on improving quality control after the incident.

The planemaker will also focus on the quality of aircraft over numbers in India, Hulst said at the event which has attracted planemakers, airlines and government officials as they make the most of India’s travel boom, with a greater focus on international routes.

In a show of confidence, India’s newest airline Akasa Air placed an order for 150 Boeing 737 MAX narrowbody planes on Thursday, taking the total to over 200 deliveries over the next eight years.

Indian commercial airlines have not ordered the MAX 9 variant of the Boeing 737.

Air India’s huge order last year for 470 planes included 220 Boeing aircraft.

The planemaker was holding discussions with “every single customer” that operates the 737, Hulst said.

(Writing by Bansari Mayur Kamdar and Tanvi Mehta; Editing by Jacqueline Wong and Raju Gopalakrishnan, Elaine Hardcastle)