Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 22 January 2020

Boeing's new 737 Max-related messages reveal 'very disturbing' picture

The plane maker disclosed a new set of internal messages to the FAA, depicting employees' concerns about safety and efforts to evade regulators

Grounded Boeing 737 MAX aircraft at Boeing Field in Seattle, Washington. Boeing revealed a "disturbing" set of internal messages showing employees concerns on safety of the 737 Max. Reuters
Grounded Boeing 737 MAX aircraft at Boeing Field in Seattle, Washington. Boeing revealed a "disturbing" set of internal messages showing employees concerns on safety of the 737 Max. Reuters

Boeing has revealed a new set of internal messages between employees about the 737 Max development that portray a “very disturbing picture” regarding safety concerns raised within the company and efforts by others to evade regulators, The Seattle Times reported.

The records on the development of the Max, sent to the US Federal Aviation Administrator on the same day that Boeing’s chief executive Dennis Muilenburg resigned, have also been submitted to the US House Transportation Committee, the newspaper said on Tuesday.

“Boeing contacted the House Transportation Committee December 23 in the late evening to transmit previously undisclosed documents related to the 737 Max,” said US house committee spokeswoman Kerry Arndt.

“Staff are continuing to review these records, but similar to other records previously disclosed by Boeing, the records appear to point to a very disturbing picture of both concerns expressed by Boeing employees about the company’s commitment to safety and efforts by some employees to ensure Boeing’s production plans were not diverted by regulators or others.”

The committee will review the documents and other records handed over by Boeing as part of its continuing investigation into the two fatal crashes in Ethiopia and off the coast of Indonesia that killed 346 people in total. Boeing appointed its chairman David Calhoun as new chief executive after Mr Muilenburg stepped down, as it tries to regain the confidence of regulators, airlines and travellers across the globe.

The records, which Boeing lawyers determined the company needed to disclose, included “troubling communications” The Seattle Times reported.

“Boeing proactively brought these communications to the FAA and Congress as part of our commitment to transparency with our regulators and the oversight committees,” Boeing spokesman Gordon Johndroe said.

“As with prior documents referenced by the committee, the tone and content of some of these communications does not reflect the company we are and need to be,” he said.

He added Boeing has made significant changes as a company in the past nine months to enhance “safety processes”.

Boeing shares dropped 1.3 per cent to $333 (Dh1,223) at the close of trading on Tuesday in New York.

Since the 737 Max grounding in March, the question remains whether travellers will feel confident in the plane’s safety to fly in it once the jet resumes commercial flights.

The New York Times reported Boeing has repeatedly surveyed thousands of passengers around the world for an answer. The latest poll from this month found 40 per cent of regular flyers were unwilling to fly on the Max.

Boeing has prepared strategies for airlines to help win back the public’s trust and convince travellers the company’s most popular plane is safe, the newspaper reported..

Updated: December 25, 2019 05:38 PM

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