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May 20, 2024
Boeing HQ
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Today’s key stories center about the new whistleblower that emerged this week with new allegations about the safety of 777 and 787 aircraft.  The actions following that emergence have been quick, ranging from the FAA investigating the allegations to Congress summoning Boeing’s CEO for testimony, and Boeing’s rejection of the alleged production shortcuts and the crisis in confidence facing the company with criticism also coming from an American Airlines pilot.

In addition, the gap between Boeing and Airbus deliveries widened, as both companies announced their March 2024 orders and deliveries.  With the 737 MAX production problems, Airbus delivered more aircraft than Boeing again, cementing its lead in market share for narrow-body aircraft.

Links to today’s key stories follow:

  • New Boeing whistleblower alleges serious structural flaws on 787 and 777 jets – Seattle Times
  • Boeing crisis of confidence deepens with 787 now under scrutiny – The Irish Times
  • FAA investigates claims by Boeing whistleblower on 787s – Oman Observer
  • Congress summons Boeing’s CEO to testify on its jetliner safety following new whistleblower charges – Quartz
  • Boeing rejects whistleblower claims about 787 production ‘shortcuts’ – Bernama.com
  • ‘Airplanes are not like Ikea furniture’: American Airlines pilot sounds alarm on Boeing ‘mess’ – Benzinga
  • Boeing falls behind with plane suppliers as Airbus picks up speed – Euronews

Whistleblowers and allegations regarding Boeing production quality are not new.  This Al-Jazzera documentary from nine years ago indicates how long problems at Boeing have been festering beneath the surface.  We’ve been talking about those problems for quite some time as well, and have watched as the problems continue to pop-up on a variety of Boeing programs.  Some issues always happen with airplanes, but the degree and frequencies of design flaws and assembly quality issues at Boeing have reached an alarming point that indicates fundamental cultural problems regarding safety within the Boeing organization.

The question we have is how many whistleblowers does it take to finally get concrete and corrective actions to the root cause of the problem, Boeing’s management philosophies.  When cost cutting and shortcuts are rewarded, whistleblowers are threatened, and Boeing security is a feared organization within the company, the risk and reward structures are misguided.

The Bottom Line

Here we go again.  Another whistleblower has identified new problems at Boeing.  That takes courage, given that the most recent whistleblower before his is dead from what has been classified an apparent suicide.  Frustration, guilt, and the inability to effect change has been the result from prior whistleblowers.  The question is whether this time will be different?  

We certainly hope that any issues are quickly addressed, corrected if need be, and confidence in the aircraft restored.  Given the intense scrutiny of Boeing,  perhaps this time can be different.

author avatar
Ernest Arvai
President AirInsight Group LLC

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