WASHINGTON, May 30 (Reuters) – The Federal Aviation Administration will not immediately allow Boeing to increase 737 MAX production as it addresses ongoing safety issues, its administrator said on Thursday, after a meeting with outgoing CEO Dave Calhoun and other executives.

The FAA’s enhanced oversight of Boeing will continue in the coming months, with weekly meetings and quarterly exchanges between the heads of the company and the U.S. regulator. The planemaker was barred in February by the FAA from boosting production of its best-selling plane after a door panel blew out during a Jan. 5 flight on a new 737 MAX 9.

FAA Administrator Mike Whitaker said he did not expect Boeing to win approval to increase production of the MAX “in the next few months” and has had no discussions with Boeing yet about the issue.

He said the FAA would monitor Boeing over the coming months to understand its quality and safety improvements “to give us a fundamental picture of whether they are in the right zone… We want to make sure the system is running as safely as it should.”

Boeing late on Thursday released an 11-page executive summary of its improvement plan based on findings from FAA audits and feedback from employees among other sources, including six critical, safety-focused production areas it will address.

The key performance measures include employee proficiency, the number of hours to address issues, including the total number of rework hours per airplane, and supplier shortages.

Boeing said the data “will provide real-time insights into production system health, enabling the company to identify and remediate potential quality and thus potential safety hazards before they fully mature.”

Production of the 737 MAX airplane is vital to the company’s finances. Last week the planemaker’s top finance executive said they will burn rather than generate cash in 2024 due in part to delayed deliveries.

Boeing said in a statement that its plan covers four categories including investments in workforce training and eliminating defects.

Photo Rob Vogelaar

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