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Following a decade of incidents and hundreds of deaths, how can ‘tainted and deluded’ Boeing regain the public’s trust?

bshifter

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William E. Boeing founded the most famous name in aviation in 1916, but the company’s reputation has taken a battering. Now experts say it must return to its founding principle of engineering excellence and stop chasing profits.

Hundreds of terrified passengers saw their lives flash before them last week, as United Airlines Flight 238 shuddered violently while parts began to fly off its right engine. A fire erupted, with the flames captured on cameraphones, via the plane’s windows.

Down on the ground, citizens of Broomfield, Colorado described a“warzone” as debris showered them, with one man’s car smashed up by falling metal.

On the same day in Dutch town Meerssen, engine debris from a cargo flight also came hurtling from the clouds.
Both airplanes were manufactured by Boeing. While the company doesn’t make engines, the fact the incidents involved its aircraft has been a public relations nightmare.

Currently, all Boeing 777 with Pratt & Whitney PW4000 engines are grounded in the US, UK and Japan.

The incidents top off a disastrous decade for Boeing. Its 737 MAX was banned from flying worldwide after two horrifying crashes: Lion Air Flight 610 (189 fatalities) in October 2018 and Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302 (157 fatalities) in March 2019. Both were judged to have been caused by a recurring failure in the Manoeuvring Characteristics Augmentation System (MCAS).

A 737-500 crashed in Indonesia last month, killing 62 people. Last year, the New York Times reported how a 2009 crash landing of a 737 in Amsterdam – which killed nine people – saw the blame pushed onto the pilots unfairly.

And this month, the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) published an Airworthiness Directive requiring the inspection of approximately 222 Boeing 787 Dreamliner jets, around concerns over decompression panels.

Boeing is a renowned and respected brand, so what’s going on? Why does it keep finding itself in the news for the wrong reasons?
The overriding theme from several sources is that Boeing has sacrificed standards to boost profit. Speaking to RT.com, aviation author Thomas Gardner said, “The Boeing company you see now is not the same as it was 20 or 30 years ago, Boeing was the bellwether, the gold standard in aviation design.

Over the last hundred years, Boeing developed a stellar reputation for conservatism in aircraft design, marketing and construction.

In the 50s or 60s, if you were hired as an engineering student at Boeing, you were introduced into a climate, a philosophy that oozed conservatism and a certain fairness. They valued their defence contractors, but it overflowed into the commercial aviation market.

But because of all these accusations and mergers with other companies, their core beliefs and the way they do things has become tainted and deluded. Once priority number one was the customer and the product, but the bottom line and dividends became more and more important.”


Boeing is certainly generous in its dividends and share buybacks. Over the last decade, it paid out a combined $68 billion on them. And last year, Chief Executive Dennis Muilenburg was sacked but still left with a $62.2 million settlement.

Some believe the decline of Boeing can be linked to one key date: July 20 2011. That’s when American Airlines decided it needed 460 new planes, the largest order in history at that time. Crucially though, 260 of them were from European manufacturer Airbus, whereas before AA had operated a fleet comprised exclusively of Boeing planes.

The problem with the big order was two-fold. Not only did it help Boeing’s only competitor gain a foothold in America, it also meant Boeing had to pursue an aircraft it didn’t want. It was asked to supply 200 737s, 100 of which were re-engined. The need to re-engine the 737 was down to Airbus providing the A320neo (new engine option), a very efficient and modern plane which used fly-by-wire (a system that replaces conventional manual flight controls with an electronic interface).

Reports indicate the then president of Boeing Commercial Airplanes, Jim Albaugh, and the then head of the 737 program, Mike Bair, didn’t want to compete with the 320 with the 737. They preferred to “clean sheet it,” an industry term for designing a completely new aircraft. But the pressure to protect market share drove the company on.

Gardner explained, “At the time Boeing had a roughly 10 percent edge over Airbus in market share for the long-haul, narrow-bodied planes. The A320neo was considered state-of-the-art.

Boeing did not keep their head. They panicked and said ‘let’s see if we can hang another engine on the 737’. The old timers would have clean sheeted it. Both Albaugh and Bair saw it was like putting lipstick on a pig.

All this comes down to the airlines pressuring them to come up with something. The very character of the company was deluded, the gene pool of ingenuity was slowly eroded by other people coming in from other companies who embraced a totally different type of engineering economic philosophy.”


That sent Boeing further down the wrong road resulting in the 737 MAX disaster. Even though it has begun flying again, reports early last year suggested further issues with it, although this has yet to be confirmed.

Aviation expert, Professor Janet Bednarek of the University of Dayton in Ohio, reflected, “Boeing’s only competitor is Airbus. Sixty years ago, the US had multiple companies building large commercial aircraft. Now there is one. That market position, and the dependence of the US on airplane exports to help with our balance of trade, has given tremendous power to Boeing.

And I am afraid that without a crisis that would require companies to change practices, almost all private companies are designed to maximize profit and return to investors. It took two crashes to ground the 737 MAX.”


Captain Les Riveria has 34 years’ experience flying and also runs the Captain Jetson airline industry website. He agrees Boeing has lost its way and said, I believe that the obsession with profits and preventing Airbus from taking the lead has resulted in decisions where safety has been compromised, perhaps.

Being only a ‘Boeing driver,’ I would never know what’s going on behind closed doors. I can, however, testify to Boeing aircraft being great, safe and reliable workhorses over the years, from the pilot perspective. Problems are just now popping up.”


This is unsurprising, as in any global corporation, issues can take decades to surface and it appears Boeing may have reached that point. Perhaps tellingly, several people approached to contribute to this piece – including pilots, aviation journalists and experts – were reluctant to comment.

Bednarek explained, “Generally whistleblowers are not well received in this country. And given the lack of alternative employment opportunities in the aircraft industry, an employee might be very hesitant to speak out.”

Not everyone is negative towards Boeing, but even its supporters are beginning to feel some discomfort. Dr. Chris Manno has been a pilot for 42 years, both in the air force and for commercial airlines, plus teaches at Texas Christian University.

He said, “As a 737 pilot, I did feel betrayed by Boeing engineering because they put in the MCAS system that pitched the aircraft nose down – and never told pilots or airlines that the system was installed.

I have no problem flying on any Boeing aircraft, because they’re solid and designed well – except for the misguided MCAS – and prefer Boeing over Airbus for durability, comfort, and ease of handling.

I’m concerned about the Boeing design and engineering trends of late. I wonder if the same Boeing I came to rely on for four decades as a pilot still exists. I hope so.”


Even though that optimism is widely endorsed, it doesn’t erase the trail of accidents and issues involving Boeing. Airbus is free from these complications and currently has a better reputation. Would it not make sense for Boeing to follow the European company’s practices?

Gardner said, “I think they should, but whether they do? I don’t know. Airbus is a fairly new company. They looked at the old timers and took what had been done and made it better, instead of going the other way.

If you take care of things, have a stellar safety record and are able to control maintenance costs, without getting too greedy, then you’re going to develop a good reputation and people will want to fly with you and buy your products. You don’t roll the dice.”


Ironically, the lockdowns caused by the Covid-19 pandemic may provide a natural break for Boeing to change tack.

Virtually all the people who spoke on the record and to provide background for this piece agreed that the company should develop a brand new aircraft – something that can bring back the glory days and show it can compete in the modern era.
 

AZADPAKISTAN2009

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Lately too many Boeing plane news in newspapers recently a plane lost engine as it started to break down and fall on to residential area
 

Hamartia Antidote

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Better than cut corners, flying coffin Boeing aircraft.


@Indos
If they are flying coffins air travel would be stopped for about 50% of world airline flights...and that includes thousands of planes in China.

This is just Chinese here praying their upcoming new aircraft can take advantage of recent Boeing bad news since if there was none their only advantage in the world market is price...and even then markets would be wary.

If you want to trade them for Ilyushin go right ahead.
 
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Beast

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If they are flying coffins air travel would be stopped for about 50% of world airline flights...and that includes thousands of planes in China.

This is just Chinese here praying their upcoming new aircraft can take advantage of recent Boeing bad news since if there was none their only advantage in the world market is price...and even then markets would be wary.

If you want to trade them for Ilyushin go right ahead.
Nobody trust Boeing, all airliner is in the process of replacing Boeing plane with airbus. And China with C919. Soon Boeing will be history! :enjoy:
 

xyxmt

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The entire US industrial infrastructure is crumbling, technology may be the the next
In a near future expect to your software to send email when you try to print...unless china fills the software gap.
 

Hamartia Antidote

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Nobody trust Boeing, all airliner is in the process of replacing Boeing plane with airbus. And China with C919. Soon Boeing will be history! :enjoy:
:rofl: The usual Chinese perpetual wet dreams without facts. Boeing had more new orders last year than Airbus...even with the pandemic.

Please step out of your CCP induced haze on the state of the world market and into reality.
 

F-22Raptor

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:rofl: The usual Chinese perpetual wet dreams without facts. Boeing had more new orders last year than Airbus...even with the pandemic.

Please step out of your CCP induced haze on the state of the world market and into reality.
That’s the same fool who believes Tesla is overhyped and has no future. When in reality Tesla is expanding in Shanghai and will begin production in Berlin and Texas later this year.
 

AZADPAKISTAN2009

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Why is Boeing Crashing Often

Boeing Max planes = Walking Disaster they keep blaming pilot error but there have been 10-15 accidents
Boeing Bigger planes = Now falling apart while flying


Seems like may be the Service quality is down due to Covid-19 impact on engineering service

I heard Boeing service center is in India :coffee: :meeting: Could be one of the reasons in fall in quality
May be to cut cost outsourced work to India , and now planes are falling apart

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I am just the messenger only bring the message
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Even the much safer Boeing 777 is now looked badly
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AZADPAKISTAN2009

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Even Canada , poor friendly Canada banned it

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I have a feeling if we look at the date Accidents started , and date when Indians started to touch Boeing stuff , we will see the accidents started after Indians got involved :meeting::meeting:


Indians have also been stealing from Covid-19 Fund in Canada I heard

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Very Dodgy characters
 
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AZADPAKISTAN2009

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Here you go ...

8-)

I also found many Indian owned companies (Western front) they run a scam bring cheap material from India after the win contract in USA , I can only imagine what crook business goes on in India
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Renowned Indian Outsourcing company helped test this magnificent plane :meeting:
Then it went down like cold fish


Trump while he was a difficult man to understand at least he understood one thing , that Indians are not good for USA so he curbed the H1B visa
 
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Hamartia Antidote

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That’s the same fool who believes Tesla is overhyped and has no future. When in reality Tesla is expanding in Shanghai and will begin production in Berlin and Texas later this year.
Certainly there are two distinct markets. The developed world and the developing world.

Russia sells many jets to the developing world. Boeing and Airbus to the developed and the developing world.

China will probably sell many of its cheap EV's to the developing world.

Screen Shot 2021-02-28 at 12.36.03 PM.jpg

Current top selling EV China in January


Screen Shot 2021-02-28 at 12.38.47 PM.jpg

Top selling EV world
Even Canada , poor friendly Canada banned it

View attachment 721004
...and then ungrounded it in January

JAN 18 2021

Canada OKs return of Boeing 737 Max aircraft
 

F-22Raptor

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Certainly there are two distinct markets. The developed world and the developing world.

Russia sells many jets to the developing world. Boeing and Airbus to the developed and the developing world.

China will probably sell many of its cheap EV's to the developing world.

View attachment 721008
Current top selling EV China in January


View attachment 721009
Top selling EV world


...and then ungrounded it in January

JAN 18 2021

Canada OKs return of Boeing 737 Max aircraft

It’s clear whose going to dominate the global EV industry. The Chinese are just in denial at this point.
 

Nan Yang

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Boeing Should Sell Its Renton and Everett Plants to China
by Charles Mudede • Feb 26, 2021 at 4:28 pm
Window view of a Boeing 777 engine. Yes. That engine.

Window view of a Boeing 777 engine. Yes. That engine. FABIAN GYSEL/GETTYIMAGES.COM

The headline for this post is not a joke. It's something that Boeing and civic leaders should consider, because the evidence shows us that the plane manufacturer is leaving our region and that it may be irrelevant by 2025 anyway.

The news today (another Boeing plane, this time operated Russia's Rossiya Airlines, had engine problems) is not actually that bad. The same is true for the incident that happened over Denver this weekend. As terrifying as that fiery engine looked, the situation was not at all dangerous for those in the air (the same, of course, cannot be said for those on the ground). The same is true for the incident in the Netherlands (falling bits of plane, the emergency landing, and so on), which happened on the same day as the one in Denver. These incidents can all be reduced to a public relations nightmare for Boeing, but not expanded in any meaningful way to the catastrophe of the 737 Max.

The aviation experts I communicate with regularly even point out that the maker behind the rash of bad engines, Connecticut's Pratt & Whitney, has had a long and complicated relationship with Boeing, a corporation that was once about engineering and, since 1997, has devoted every ounce of its existence to a program that in neo-classical economics is called Shareholder Value Maximization.

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Pratt & Whitney also make engines for Boeing's top rival, Airbus. The company is also playing a key role in the demise of Boeing by selling Airbus an engine that's helped it split open the once uncrackable 100-passenger market. Airlines want this plane because it solves so many problems that Boeing's new class of planes simply do not solve, such as customer satisfaction, flexibility, load-factor, and so on. And so, as the Chicago-based plane manufacturer cuts jobs, cuts R&D, and leaves the Pacific Northwest, it has a new class of huge planes that are not fitted for the supple post-pandemic future.

And then there is Boeing's debt. Last year, the company spent, according to one analyst I spoke with, $700 million servicing just the interest on the company's ballooning debt. By 2025, Boeing will have no planes to sell (Airbus will be doing that kind of business) and lots of moolah owed to the banks.

What should Washington state do under these circumstances? There really are only three options, according to the sober experts I have spoken with. (They can't come out of the dark because they do not want to lose favor with Boeing.)

But first, my option: The state buys or appropriates the production facilities in Renton and Everett and then offers grants to startups in the aviation sector that have credible (or even fantastic) business plans to revolutionize air travel in the age of global warming.

This solution, which had the work of the economist Mariana Mazzucato and neo-infant industrialism as its aspiration, was not taken seriously at all. Its key or fatal problem, the experts told me, was the very one Boeing failed to escape. You can make cars for cheap, but not airplanes. These flying machines demand the gargantuan transformation of liquid capital into fixed capital. The financial commitment for Washington state would be way beyond its resources. A startup in the flight transportation sector is not the same as a startup for apps or software.

The experts explained to me that it would be better to just turn the Renton and Everett sites into affordable housing—and they were serious about this. Demolish the plant in Renton and make it a vibrant neighborhood for working and middle-class people. If that is not politically viable, which is most likely the case, then there is option two: Make an agreement with Amazon to covert the plants into bases for its very own cargo planes. This would mean Amazon acquiring FedEx and relocating its headquarters from Memphis (a city I love) to Everett (a city I rarely think about). A lot of talk has already been circling something that's close to this possibility.

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There's one more possibility for the region's post-Boeing future, which is to offer the plants in Everett and Renton to China for the coming production of planes made by the Commercial Aircraft Corporation of China (or Comac). The logic? Because China would recognize the prestige of making a large number of its aircraft in the US, and it would jump at the offer in a hot minute.


Also, look at Airbus, which is currently running circles around Boeing. Europe's defining plane-maker actually has massive plants in Canada and Alabama. As China gets its act together and enters the market, it, too, will have to globalize its operations. Why shouldn't Washington be the first to throw open the door for them as it slams the door shut to Boeing? No need to get nationalistic about this. Boeing didn't think twice about leaving the region when it relocated to Chicago in 2001 and opened a new plant in South Carolina.

But if you think any of this is fanciful, and that my ears on the aviation beat are a touch too speculative, check out this post in Puget Sound Business Journal. It appeared yesterday, and opened with:
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The important thing to know in all of this, and a point that has been made to me again and again, is that Washington State's present relationship with Boeing has no future that does not end badly for the public's purse. The company costs too much to keep around, and what it returns to the public is so diminished that it's hardly worth even the smallest of tax breaks. Our state is now in a position to make bold decisions and enter a post-Boeing period that is more balanced and rewarding.
 

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