In a shocking revelation, internal Boeing emails disclosed how Boeing employees joked about the 737 MAX safety, the aircraft which they called was “designed by clowns who in turn are supervised by monkeys”. The internal communications, which got released late Thursday, showed how the Boeing employees bantered among themselves about the aircraft’s safety and bragged about tricking the regulator and customers to win the approval and deals.
In one of the messages, a Boeing employee wrote to a colleague, “Would you put your family on a MAX simulator trained aircraft? I wouldn’t.” The colleague answered, “No”.
Another trail of messages, disclosed in October, showed Mark Forkner, the former 737 Max Chief Technical Pilot, boasting of using “Jedi mind tricks” on regulators about the problems in a 737 Max simulator.
As per the reports, these exchanges were conducted nearly eight months before the first of the two fatal MAX crashes. Despite the findings of the crash, the regulators did not ground the faulty airliner. Those findings came a month after the Lion Air crash in October 2018 that killed 189 people, and four months before an Ethiopian Airlines crash that claimed 157 lives.
Document packed with hundreds of papers revealing internal messages was handed over to Congressional investigators on Thursday. On Friday, the Federal Aviation Administration proposed imposing a civil penalty of $5.4 million against the company for misguiding the regulators about the safety of wing components installed on 178 of its 737 Max airplanes. The FAA said the company management fooled the regulators that the wing parts met safety standards when they didn’t.
Last month Edward Pierson, a former senior manager at Boeing’s 737 factories in Renton, Washington, told Congress the factory where Max was built was in a chaotic shape. He added that “Boeing was prioritizing production speed over quality and safety”.
US Representative Peter DeFazio, an Oregon Democrat who is heading the committee that is investigating Boeing and then Max said, “These newly-released emails are incredibly damning. They paint a deeply disturbing picture of the lengths Boeing was apparently willing to go to in order to evade scrutiny from regulators, flight crews, and the flying public, even as its own employees were sounding alarms internally.”
Market analysts believed that the unfurling of the current scandal won’t impact the company much as Boeing is too big to fail, but it would make it difficult for the company to get FAA approval to return the plane to service. Besides, it would also build pressure on Congress to take more strict steps to address the company’s culture. The airplane manufacturer ousted its chief executive, Dennis Muilenburg, in December.
As the consequences of the recent disclosure, Boeing’s top supplier, Spirit AeroSystems, announced on Friday that it would fire 2,800 employees, and possibly more after Boeing halted production of 737 Max, which was one of its top-selling planes.
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