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July 22, 2024
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Today’s key stories focus on the aftermath of Boeing’s guilty plea, speculation about the new CEO, the loss of more than 100 net orders in June, and Southwest’s “dutch roll” incident with the 737 MAX 8.

The implications of the guilty plea are wide ranging, with Boeing’s federal contracts at risk.  That could potentially force Boeing to spin-off defense and space units, which might not be a bad idea at this point.  Innovation and drive come from smaller and more nimble entities, and three focused business units might be an improvement over today’s Boeing.  Plus, it would enable the head of commercial aircraft to be in Seattle, closer to key engineering and production operations.

Christine Negroni talks about another aspect of a plea deal, which is that Boeing won’t need to be dragged through the mud of a trial, and won’t further damage a reputation that has fallen significantly since the MAX crashes.  With no executive being held responsible, Boeing management can breathe a sigh of relief.

A story focusing on why the plea deal won’t fix the crisis of trust at Boeing focuses on the flying public and airlines, who have become increasingly upset with delays and missed deadlines.  The plea deal in itself will not fix the endemic cultural problems at the company.

Another story speculates on Pat Shanahan returning to Boeing as the next CEO, after running SpiritAero which Boeing recently re-acquired.  While he has significant experience, he also is steeped in the Boeing culture, having been a senior executive at Boeing for 20 years before becoming Deputy Secretary of Defense in 2017, and acting Secretary of Defense until 2019.  He later become CEO of SpiritAero in 2023.  With experience on both the commercial side with the 777 program and defense, plus knowledge of Boeing, he has a unique set of skills.  The question is whether Boeing can afford another insider, given his 20 years at Boeing, running the company.

The company’s backlog took a hit in June, according to another story that reported Boeing lost 100 net orders last month, even though deliveries increases slightly.

United had a maintenance issue with a 757, losing a wheel for the second time this year.  While clearly a United problem, almost every new report brings  Boeing into the story, even though the 757 has flown millions of miles without losing wheels.  Who lost their wrench at United?

Finally, the NTSB released the preliminary report on the “dutch roll” event at Southwest Airlines in which a 737 MAX 8 was damaged.  There will be more once the final report is issues.

Links to today’s key stories follow:

Boeing’s federal contracts at risk after guilty plea – Law360

Boeing’s guilty plea lets it keep its secrets – Christine Negroni

Why Boeing’s guilty plea won’t fix 737 MAX crisis of trust – Forbes

Is he Boeing’s next CEO? – Fortune

Boeing ramped deliveries in June but lost more than 100 net orders during the month – Flight Global

United Airlines plane loses tire after takeoff at LAX, the second time in four months – LA Times

Southwest Airlines ‘Dutch roll’ incident: NTSB preliminary report – AviationSource

author avatar
Ernest Arvai
President AirInsight Group LLC

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