Time for reckoning

It has in a previous article been mentioned that ”heads will roll” in the aftermath of the botched introduction of Boeings latest version of its best selling 737. The MAX. Cost-saving has taken precedence over safety, a drastic shift in Boeings long-standing company culture, where the industry has been provided with aircraft of unsurpassed quality for more than half a century.

The change in the Boeing company culture over time to safeguard profit and shareholders interest has come in conflict with the focus on uncompromising safety, as mentioned by frustrated employees, who has allegedly felt the need to keep quiet to stay employed. Many are responsible for mentioned change, but the buck stops with the leader of the company, who was a strange combination of CEO and Chairman of the board, Mr Dennis A Muilenburg

Last Friday a telephone conference with board members (Muilenburg not invited) decided to strip Muilenburg of his Chairman of the board position. It is a fair guess that this is not the only demotion in the pipeline. Congress members are increasingly interested in what other executives knew – and when.

A whistleblower has reported that he attempted to persuade the company’s management to include a safety feature into the MAX, called synthetic airspeed, like the system found on the B787 Dreamliner. That was reportedly rejected due to ”cost and potential (pilot) training impact”. Boeing wanted to remain competitive, and any additional costly pilot training would ”have a very negative impact on the MAX’s attractiveness to customers”.

It is estimated that Boeing would be a much happier company, had management listened to its employees.

The negative economic impact on the industry by low-cost airlines (apart from the fact that people can fly for less than required to maintain an adequate standard) has reached the factory floor. It has become increasingly important for airplane manufacturers to produce  aircraft increasingly fuel efficient and otherwise less costly to operate with a competitive price tag. It’s anybody’s guess why Boeing choose the low weight litium batteries to it’s Dreamliner instead of nickel-cadmium. Light weight ment less fuel to carry and was a perfect economic solution until they caught fire. The Dreamliner was grounded for months.

Boeing has created a safety committee in an effort to change back to what was its trademark with focus safety, no matter what. Boeing lovers can only hope such changes may eventually bring back full confidence in a badly bruised trademark. Quite possibly passengers boarding a Dreamliner remember little or nothing of the grounding many years ago. Possibly the MAX will be just as popular once the extensive overhaul and checks are completed – and some time has passed without any further problems. It will, after all, when the smoke has settled, be the most scrutinized aircraft in history.

 

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