It isn’t our fault, it is the fault of two employees

By | Category: Travel rumblings

That seems to be the attitude of Boeing to the terrible consequences of the quality control failures of the development of the 737-MAX.

737-MAX 8 Artwork. Image © Boeing

The airline manufacturer has escaped harsher consequences by paying a penalty of $243.6 million, providing $500 million in additional compensation to the families of those lost in the Lion Air and Ethiopian Airlines accidents and giving a commitment to provide $1.77 billion to Boeing’s airline customers as part of the Company’s efforts to compensate those customers for financial losses resulting from the grounding of the 737 MAX.

In return for paying these sums, the Us Department of Justice has agreed to defer prosecution of the company, provided that Boeing abides by the obligations set forth in a three-year deferred prosecution agreement, after which time the charge will be dismissed.

The bit that rankles with me comes from the Boeing press release. It says, “The agreement is based on the conduct of two former Boeing employees and their intentional failure to inform the FAA Aircraft Evaluation Group (AEG), the group within the FAA responsible for making pilot training determinations, about changes to the Maneuvering Characteristics Augmentation System (MCAS).”

When the CEO goes on to talk of transparency, the relatives of all those who died must be wondering how Boeing can understand the word. The recent US House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure report on Boeing and the FAA noted a “…significant lack of transparency with the FAA, its customers, and  737 MAX pilots regarding pilot training requirements and negatively compromised safety.”

If I sat on that committee I would be livid with what Boeing has said. And livid with the Department of Justice for letting Boeing get away with this statement.

The House Committee concluded that many more than two people were responsible and Boeing is insulting not just the relatives of the dead but airline passengers around the world by such a blatantly veiled interpretation.

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