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'Designed By Clowns' And 'Supervised By Monkeys': Internal Documents Of Boeing Employees About 737 Max Aircraft

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Neer Varshney
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The Boeing Company (NYSE: BA) on Thursday released internal documents pertaining to employee communications about the 737 Max aircraft between 2013 and 2018, which suggests that the employees deliberately ignored the safety issues with the now-grounded line.

What Happened

According to the documents reviewed by the Wall Street Journal, the Boeing employees mocked the aviation regulators around the world, including the Federal Aviation Administration, and suggested that Boeing was willing to compromise on safety procedures in order to avoid simulator training for the pilots.

"Would you put your family on a MAX simulator trained aircraft? I wouldn't," an employee wrote in a 2018 email, the Journal reported.

The 737 MAX aircraft was grounded in March last year after two fatal crashes involving the line in Indonesia and Ethiopia killed 346 people.

Another employee, a management pilot, said that he was worried he wouldn't be "forgiven by god for the covering up" he did in the previous year.

"Can't do it one more time. Pearly gates will be closed," the pilot said, suggesting that he aided in circumventing safety requirements, according to the Journal.

"This airplane is designed by clowns, who in turn are supervised by monkeys," another employee said in an email seen by the Journal.

Why It Matters

Another set of transcripts released in October last year had shown that Boeing employees were aware of the "egregious" and "fundamental" problems that remained with the aircraft even after it was put into the air, causing outrage among the regulators.

The Chairman of the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure, Rep. Peter DeFazio (D -- OR 4th District), who is leading the House inquiry into the Boeing aircraft, described the documents as "incredibly damning."

"They paint a deeply disturbing picture of the lengths Boeing was apparently willing to go to in order to evade scrutiny from regulators, flight crews, and the flying public, even as its own employees were sounding alarms internally," DeFazio said in a statement on Thursday.

Boeing has focused on fixing the technology glitches required to get the F.A.A. approval and get the aircraft back in the air, but the repairs and subsequent approval are taking longer than expected.

An internal audit by Boeing in December revealed previously unknown design flaws in the engine panel and wiring.

A recent crash of a Boeing 737 aircraft in Iran that killed 176 people spells new trouble for the company. Whether it was a technical glitch with the aircraft that caused the crash or an Iranian missile remains a point of contention with the United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom suggesting the latter, and Iran denying the allegations.

Price Action

Boeing's shares closed 1.5% higher at $336.34 on Thursday. The shares were further 0.3% up in after-hours trading.

Photo Credit: pjs2005 via Wikimedia


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