Head of Boeing’s 737 Max program out after midair blowout

The head of Boeing’s 737 Max program has left the company amid scrutiny of its safety procedures following an incident that left one of its planes with a gaping hole in its fuselage midflight last month.

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Ed Clark oversaw Boeing’s production facility in Renton, Washington, Reuters reported. He had been with the company for nearly 18 years, according to Bloomberg News.

In a memo reviewed by Reuters, Boeing announced that Clark had left his position. Katie Ringgold will succeed him as vice president and general manager, according to the news agency.

Though the 737 Max is Boeing’s bestselling plane, it has also been plagued with issues over the last five years, according to CNN.

On Jan. 5, Alaska Airlines Flight 1282 was forced to make an emergency landing in Portland, Oregon, after a door plug came off the jetliner — a Boeing 737 Max 9 — as it was ascending for a trip to California. The panel blew off the plane and landed below, in the Portland area, along with two cellphones that has been onboard.

In a preliminary report issued earlier this month, the National Transportation Safety Board found that four bolts appeared to have been removed from the plane at Boeing’s factory in Washington and never replaced.

Boeing 737 planes were also grounded for 20 months in 2019 and 2020 after a pair of crashes killed nearly 350 people, CNN reported.