It seems that every time more evidence comes to light regarding the 737MAX situation, it is more and more damning to Boeing. This latest release of more internal communications is no different. Things were bad enough when it was revealed that Boeing had made no mention of the new MCAS software system that was installed on their newest narrow-body jet.
Now this latest batch of communications shows that multiple employees within the corporation mocked the development of the aircraft and its problems even before it entered service. Not that this was new, as concerns about the plane had previously been raised. But these messages show just how egregiously badly the issue was handled.
Cover Up Of A Plane “Designed by Clowns”
The released communications illustrate employees frustrated with a culture that prioritized finding the cheapest suppliers and held to the tightest schedules. Leadership was clearly out of touch with engineering and development. Employees were pushed to condense training into the briefest amount possible. Corners were being cut, and employees knew it internally.
This was clearly illustrated by a comment from one employee that “I still haven’t been forgiven by God for the covering up I did last year.” This was in May 2018, a year after the 737MAX had been put into service. Another derided the entire series, stating, “this airplane is designed by clowns who in turn are supervised by monkeys.” Obviously, things were seriously, seriously wrong at Boeing.
The worst part is how committed Boeing was to making sure no additional training was required for their new place. The internal communications clearly show this. Boeing’s power over the FAA is evident, as one email was penned: “We are going to push back very hard on this and will likely need support at the highest levels when it comes time for the final negotiation.”
Obviously, Boeing won. The FAA signed off on the plane without simulator training.
But even that is enough for even Boeing employees. In another communication, one employee questions another regarding whether they’d put their family on a 737MAX. The answer was short and to the point: “no.”
Will The 737MAX Ever Get Off the Ground?
My guess is that through intense scrutiny by the FAA, the willingness to commit to simulator training, and a clear fix to all the problems that have bee uncovered over the past 12+ months, the answer is yes. Boeing needs this plane to succeed, and even though this debacle that claimed the lives of 346 people rests squarely on their shoulders, I would be shocked if the FAA does not eventually certify the MAX.
They will be facing a massive PR battle, however. Which is something they’re already tackling.
Will I ever set foot on one? Honestly, I’m not sure. Unequivocally no, in the short term. Without seeing the aircraft perform in service for over a year without future incident, I don’t think I would be willing to fly on it. And I’m not alone in that sentiment.
Boeing states, “these communications do not reflect the company we are and need to be, and they are completely unacceptable.” Yes, they absolutely are. You have a long way to go to earn back the trust of the flying public.