Statistics show traveling by air is safer than riding in an automobile or truck. Airplane manufacturers can’t afford to make mistakes. The people who put those giant flying machines together know mistakes cost lives, prompt lawsuits, and have a serious impact on the value of their stock.
But the unthinkable happened while the people at Boeing developed the new 737 MAX 8 airliner and built it for a global audience. Boeing claimed the new version of an old airline workhorse would change the flying experience for consumers. And it would add lots of money to the company’s bottom line.
But the opposite happened when a Lion 737 MAX 8 crashed in early March 2019. Investigators found a flaw in one of the plane’s systems that keeps the airplane’s nose up. Boeing knew what caused the Lion crash, but the upgrade to fix the issue didn’t seem like a priority to Boeing until an Ethiopian Airlines flight experienced a similar situation.
The Federal Aviation Administration finally grounded the fleet of 737 MAX 8 airliners, but they didn’t react soon enough, according to some aviation experts. As soon as the second 737 MAX 8 went down, the rest of the world grounded the fleet. But the United States kept the ailing planes in the air until Trump decided he couldn’t protect CEO Dennis Muilenburg any longer. Mr. Muilenburg is a big Trump donor and Trump’s friend.
Mr. Trump knew Boeing’s stock would take a serious hit, so Trump tried to ease the blow, but that didn’t work. Boeing’s stock dropped ten percent, and some stock analysts say it could drop more unless Boeing and Muilenburg come up with a damage control management plan that explains why the airline manufacturer put money before the safety of the consumers who use their product.
According to the Dallas Morning News, several 737 Max 8 pilots complained about the planes stall system. The pilots didn’t know the stall prevention system was different from the old 737 stall system. Those pilots say they didn’t know how to handle the new system.
Muilenburg claims the update to correct the stall system is in the works, and it should be ready within days. But Boeing’s stock won’t recover that quickly according to market analysts.
The lawsuits, credibility issues, and the lack of moral decency by Muilenburg and other executives will haunt Boeing until the company makes drastic changes. That may take a while, according to the former chairman of the National Transportation Safety Board, Jim Hall.