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United CEO expresses support for Boeing, not necessarily its leadership

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United Airlines CEO Scott Kirby praised Boeing’s history and its importance to both the U.S. and global economy, as well as its employees, but appeared to withhold an endorsement of its executive leadership during two opportunities on Tuesday. The comments were the first from Kirby since the 737 Max 9 was grounded at United’s fleet in early January following an accident aboard an Alaska Airlines flight.

Bloomberg News on Monday published a story outlining Kirby’s ire at Boeing over the quality issues that he described to CNBC on Tuesday as “not new”. 

“I have a lot of confidence in the people of Boeing, there’s great mechanics, great engineers, great storied history. But they’ve been having these consistent manufacturing challenges and they need to take action,” said Kirby. “If they don’t change something it’s not going to get fixed.”

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