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July 22, 2024
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Today’s key stories about Boeing focus on the senate hearings with a new whistleblower and CEO Dave Calhoun. an IP lawsuit, the CEO search, and fake titanium.  Calhoun appeared before the Senate hearings and apologized to the families of MAX crash victims while being vilified by the Congressional Committee.  While this was a no-win situation for Calhoun, he did detail many of the efforts Boeing has undertaken to fix its culture.

Prior to Calhoun’s testimony, a new whistleblower spoke about potential fraud by Boeing in hiding non-conforming parts prior to an FAA investigation and returning those parts into the plant where the could have been installed into new production aircraft.  Those allegations corroborate other whistleblower complaints.

A lawsuit against Boeing by a start-up regarding IP was settled not in Boeing’s favor, and the plaintiffs now want to add to their sizable verdict.  In the interim, it appears that a Chinese state-owned company is behind the non-conforming titanium sold to Airbus and Boeing and installed on Boeing and Airbus aircraft that had documentation that matched specifications although the material did not.  With Russian sanctions taking away 25% of the global titanium market, raw materials remain in short supply and are a factor in the slower than expected production ramp-ups at both OEMs.

The Department of Justice is facing a key decision in its probe of fraud against Boeing in the wake of the 737 MAX certification, after violation of the deferred prosecution agreement.  The victims were present at the congressional hearing, and political pressure is in place to move forward with a fraud prosecution against the company.

The search for a new CEO has hit snags, as several very well qualified senior executives in the industry, including two leading  candidates, have turned down the Boeing opportunity.  This may be a difficult job for Boeing to fill with an outsider, which most observes feel is necessary to affect the needed cultural change at Boeing.

Meanwhile, the Air Force One replacement has been delayed to 2026 in another embarrassment for Boeing, who can’t seem to get anything on-time and on-budget.  This is while the Starliner, with helium leaks and thruster difficulties, is delaying the astronaut’s return to earth again, now the 26th of June.  More delays, resulting from quality problems, at a different Boeing division, reflecting their corporate culture and governance, or lack thereof.

Finally, after two Southwest Airlines incidents with LEAP engines on 737 MAX aircraft, Boeing and CFM are finally disclosing details of a software system on the engine previously undisclosed to pilots, much like MCAS prior to the crashes.  That is being remedied, but has not been well received by pilots.

Links to today’s key stories follow:

  • Startup wants to add more than $200M to Boeing IP Verdict – Law 360
  • Boeing’s CEO search hits some snags – WSJ
  • Before Boeing CEO hearing, Senate releases new claims of 737 MAX fraud – Seattle Times
  • A Chinese state company supplied suspect titanium used in Boeing, Airbus planes – Forbes
  • DOJ faces ‘wrenching decision’ in Boeing probe – Bloomberg Law
  • First fight of Air Force One replacement delayed to 2026 – Flight Global
  • After 2 serious 737 MAX engine incidents at Southwest, Boeing alerts pilots – Seattle Times
  • NASA extends Starliner stay at space station to further assess helium leaks and thruster issues – CBS News
author avatar
Ernest Arvai
President AirInsight Group LLC

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