Boeing 737 Max airplanes

Boeing CEO Admits Company Has Been ‘Far From Perfect’ After a Flood of Safety Lapses

Boeing CEO Dave Calhoun is set to address recent safety concerns and cultural issues within the company during a recent Senate testimony. In his prepared remarks, Calhoun plans to acknowledge the company’s shortcomings while rebutting allegations of retaliation against whistleblowers.

“Much has been said about Boeing’s culture. We’ve heard those concerns loud and clear,” Calhoun’s remarks read. “Our culture is far from perfect, but we are taking action and making progress. We understand the gravity, and we are committed to moving forward.”

Boeing has been under intense scrutiny following a series of safety lapses, including a January 5 incident where an Alaska Air Boeing 737 Max suffered a door plug failure mid-flight. This incident has compounded the company’s challenges, which include numerous federal investigations and congressional hearings.

The Senate’s Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations is holding a hearing titled “Boeing’s Broken Safety Culture.” This will be Calhoun’s first testimony in his four years as CEO, accompanied by Boeing’s chief engineer, Howard McKenzie. The hearing follows allegations from Boeing engineer Sam Salehpour, who claimed that concerns about aircraft safety were often ignored and that employees faced pressure to remain silent.

Calhoun plans to counter these claims, stating, “We are committed to making sure every employee feels empowered to speak up if there is a problem. We also have strict policies in place to prohibit retaliation against employees who come forward.”

Despite the high-profile nature of the hearing, industry experts remain skeptical about its potential to drive significant changes within Boeing. Richard Aboulafia, managing partner for AeroDynamic Consultancy, commented, “Nothing has produced change at Boeing except frustration from a bunch of airline customers. He (Calhoun) needs to go. He has shown a strong desire to double down on what’s bad.”

The January 5 incident, in which a plane left Boeing’s factory missing crucial bolts, has drawn harsh criticism from Congress and safety regulators. Preliminary investigations revealed the plane was missing four bolts required to secure the door plug, leading to the dangerous failure during flight. Boeing has been unable to provide documentation identifying who installed the defective door plug.

Calhoun’s prepared remarks also include apologies to the families of the victims of two fatal 737 Max crashes in 2018 and 2019, as well as to the passengers and crew affected by the Alaska Air incident. “We are deeply sorry for your losses,” he will say, addressing the families of the crash victims. He will also express gratitude to the Alaska Air crew for their actions during the January incident, noting, “We are thankful that there were no fatalities.”

As Calhoun prepares to retire later this year, this Senate hearing may be his only appearance before Congress. The company still faces potential criminal liability for the 737 Max certification process, following a Justice Department notification in May indicating that Boeing is now subject to prosecution due to the recent safety issues.

The outcome of the Senate hearing and ongoing investigations will be crucial for Boeing as it strives to rebuild its reputation and assure the safety of its aircraft moving forward.

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