Boeing’s 737 Max Accident: The Company Failed 37% Of FAA Audits

12th Mar 2024
Boeing’s 737 Max Accident: The Company Failed 37% Of FAA Audits

Since a door panel blew off a 737 Max 9 during an Alaska Airlines flight in early January, U.S. air safety regulators have uncovered “dozens of problems” during a six-week audit of Boeing.

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) auditors found 97 instances of non-compliance in Boeing’s 737 Max program, including failure to comply with quality-control requirements. According to the report, out of 89 product audits, Boeing passed 56 but failed 33 (over 37%), revealing significant shortcomings. Spirit AeroSystems, responsible for 737 Max fuselages, faced challenges, too, with only six passing grades out of 13 audits.

The New York Times exposed unconventional practices, such as a mechanic using a hotel key card to check a door seal and applying liquid soap for lubrication during the “fit-up process.” A separate panel report revealed a “disconnect” in Boeing’s safety culture, responding to the 2018-2019 crashes that claimed 346 lives. The FAA, NTSB, and Justice Department are actively investigating the situation.

Boeing door
Credit: NYT

Moreover, on X (Twitter), you can find a viral video boasting over 2.3 million views showcases secret footage capturing Boeing engineers expressing reservations about flying on these planes.

Tragic Turn of Events: Boeing Whistleblower John Barnett Found Dead in the U.S.

In a shocking development, John Barnett, a former Boeing employee and a prominent whistleblower, has been discovered dead in the United States. Barnett, who dedicated 32 years to Boeing before retiring in 2017, was recognized for voicing concerns about the company’s production standards.

Video of 62-year-old John Barnett testifying days ago as a whistleblower against the company he’d worked at for many decades. For now, the police have pegged the cause of death as a self-inflicted gunshot wound.

Credit: TMZ

What’s Next for Boeing and Its Future in Space?

Since the Alaska Airlines episode, Boeing has come under intense scrutiny over its quality control practices, adding to existing concerns about manufacturing lapses within the company. The company’s production has been slowed down by U.S. regulators, causing delays in meeting deadlines for its ongoing aerospace and space projects.

For a company that was once considered the gold standard of commercial aviation, Boeing’s reputation has clearly been compromised. Its share price fell by 20% in a month following a report from The Wall Street Journal that the Department of Justice has launched a criminal investigation into the company.

Boeing's shares

Now, let’s figure out what this story means for Boeing’s business as a whole and what it might mean for their future.

More to 737 Max Issue: Boeing’s Ongoing Struggles In the Sky & Space

You’ve probably heard that there is a long list of problems that Boeing has been dealing with over the past few years, and it’s fair to say that the 737 MAX and the one-and-a-half-year grounding back in 2019 definitely got the most attention. But in case you missed it, Boeing actually also stopped delivering 787s for a period even longer than that, starting from around September 2020. That stop was caused by various quality and supplier problems which hit the 787 production, causing a stop in deliveries for nearly two years.

What it means is that Boeing now has a 787 backlog where the involved aircraft are in need of various checks and rework before they can be delivered to their customers. As for their flagship, the huge Boeing 777X should have taken seven years to develop and certify. Now, it looks certain to take at least 12 years, and that’s without even being an all-new design.

If we go beyond their airliners, Boeing also has a number of military and space programs, which frankly aren’t looking much better. These include the KC-46 tanker and the Boeing Space’s CST-100 Starliner. All of these projects are currently recording losses, mostly because of agreed fixed-price contracts, where Boeing themselves have to cover any unforeseen costs. The Starliner capsule is particularly interesting to us since just a few days ago, NASA and Boeing announced a delay in the long-awaited first crewed mission of Boeing’s Starliner capsule, known as the Crew Flight Test (CFT), originally set for mid-April. The new launch target is early May, according to statements released on March 8.

Credits: Boeing

However, the failed audits by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and the ongoing Department of Justice criminal investigation involving Boeing are highly likely to cause schedule changes as well.

The story of Boeing investigations is still unfolding. Stay tuned for more information.

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