In watching the testimony of Dennis Muilenburg in front of the Senate and House, as well as Boeing’s actions during the 737 MAX crisis over the last 366 days, it seems the corporate culture at Boeing is a contributing factor to why this crisis is hanging on. Boeing has become an arrogant company that apparently believes that rules don’t apply because “we’re Boeing” and a “we know better” attitude.
Dennis Muilenburg is a perfect example of that arrogance and culture. His statements come across as insincere, and twists the facts. When he states that, after the fixes, the 737 MAX will be one of the safest airplanes in the skies, he slights the memory of the 346 people who died aboard those aircraft because of a flawed design that kicked off a series of events that resulted in fatalities. Sorry, Dennis, but the 737 MAX will not be among the safest airplanes ever to fly because of the 346 fatalities that have occurred. There are no do-overs, and while he states that Boeing owns the problem, he speaks with a forked-tongue when he makes statements like that.
While he acknowledges the MCAS flaws, he never directly addressed the question of how those flaws got into the aircraft in the first place and were certified by an FAA that relied on a poor judgment from the Boeing employees under ODA. The arrogance of Boeing is perhaps best personified in the lack of transparency and clear communications from the company. Every statement is nuanced, and while we understand that there are legal actions underway and that Boeing’s general counsel, sitting behind Muilenburg, had clearly prepped him on avoiding details and directly answering tough questions. Compounding that was the late distribution of documents to the FAA resulting from the investigation, which has the appearance of a cover-up.
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