Top NewsBoeing CEO admits the company is 'far from perfect' after a deluge...

Boeing CEO admits the company is ‘far from perfect’ after a deluge of safety flaws

Christian Posey/Bloomberg/Getty Images

Boeing CEO Dave Calhoun is set to testify at a Senate hearing on Tuesday about the plane maker’s safety problems.


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Boeing CEO Dave Calhoun plans to apologize for Boeing’s recent safety failures in Senate testimony on Tuesday and acknowledge problems with the company’s culture, but he will push back on whistleblower claims that the company retaliated against those who brought safety problems to light.

“Much has been said about Boeing’s culture. We have heard those concerns loud and clear,” he said in prepared remarks released by Boeing Monday afternoon. “Our culture isn’t perfect, but we’re taking action and moving forward. We understand gravity and we’re committed to moving forward.

The comment “far from perfect” is a massive understatement. Boeing has been under intense scrutiny since January 5, with several federal investigations and congressional hearings. Alaska Air Boeing 737 Max aircraft A door plug blew off, leaving a hole in the plane and Boeing’s reputation.

Boeing has been ordered by the Federal Aviation Administration to improve its safety issues before Resume normal productioncause Problems with airlines They can’t get the flights they ordered. That, in turn, means High fares for passengersWho are theirs Confidence in the company’s aircraft Very tested.

Stephen Brashear/Getty Images

Boeing 737 Max aircraft are pictured outside the Boeing factory in Renton, Washington.

An investigation by the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations on Tuesday is titled “Boeing’s Broken Safety Culture.” It’s the latest congressional hearing this year into safety problems at Boeing, but it’s the first time Calhoun has testified in his more than four years running the troubled company. He will be joined by Howard McKenzie, Boeing’s chief engineer.

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Boeing engineer Sam Salepour testified at an April 17 hearing that Boeing released the defective planes because he and other complainants faced pressure not to do so.

“I have serious concerns about the safety of the 787 and 777, and I am willing to take a professional risk to address them,” Salehpour said in his opening statement. When he expressed concern, “I was ignored. I told him not to create a delay. I said frankly, shut up.

Calhoun in his prepared remarks denies that is currently the case at Boeing.

“We’re committed to making sure every employee feels empowered to speak up if they have a problem,” he would say, according to prepared remarks. “We have strict policies in place to prevent retaliation against employees who come forward. Whatever feedback we receive, it’s our job to listen to it and treat it with the seriousness it deserves.

While the hearing is expected to gain attention, it’s unlikely to make a significant difference to the company, said Richard Aboulafia, managing partner of aerospace consulting firm Aerodynamic Consultancy.

“Nothing has driven change (at Boeing) other than the frustration of airline customers,” Aboulafia said. “I don’t know what the outcome will be. He (Calhoun) has to go. He’s shown a strong desire to double down.

A preliminary investigation into the Alaska Air incident found that the plane left the Boeing factory two months before the incident. Without the four bolts needed to hold the door insert in place.

And Boeing still hasn’t Create documents To find out who installed the door insert without bolts at the factory. It has been heavily criticized by members of Congress and defense regulators and will face more criticism on Tuesday.

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Calhoun has already met with members of Congress behind closed doors since the Alaska Air incident. He has made several public statements to Boeing employees and investors since the Alaska Air incident.

“We caused the problem, and we understand that,” he told investors on a call in January after reporting his fifth consecutive annual loss. “Whatever the outcome (of the investigations), Boeing must take responsibility for what happened. Regardless of the specific cause of the accident, such an event should never occur on an aircraft leaving one of our factories. We simply have to be better.”

Calhoun’s prepared remarks begin with apologies to family members of the two victims Fatal 737 Max Crashes. Some of those family members plan to attend the hearing. Between them, 346 people were killed in accidents in Indonesia and Ethiopia in 2018 and 2019. 20 month landing of jet aircraft To fix a Design flaw It caused accidents.

“We are so sorry for your losses,” he would say in his opening remarks. “Nothing is more important than the safety of the people who board our aircraft. Every day we want to honor the memory of those we have lost.

He also plans to apologize again to Alaska Air passengers and crew in January.

“We deeply regret the impact of the Alaska Airlines Flight 1282 crash on the Alaska Airlines crew and its passengers, and we are grateful to the pilots and crew who landed the flight safely,” he said. “We are thankful that there were no casualties.”

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But experts say it was It is fortunate that no one was killed In the Alaska Air incident.

This may be the only time Calhoun will testify on Capitol Hill. Announced plans Retire by the end of this year. His successor Not selected yet.

Beyond Tuesday’s hearing, the company could face criminal liability stemming from the original certification process for the 737 Max, in addition to several other federal investigations it faces. Boeing has agreed to a trial period in January 2021, It adjourned any prosecution on those charges and waived criminal liability in the accidents.

But the January 5 incident on the Alaska Air flight happened just days before the end of the trial period. In May, the Justice Department told Boeing it was now subject to criminal prosecution. Boeing has denied breaching a deferred prosecution agreement over the Alaska Air incident and is challenging potential criminal liability in court. Family members, who plan to attend Tuesday’s hearing, say Boeing should be prosecuted criminally.

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