Boeing’s reputational nightmare continues after yet another manufacturing problem has been discovered on its jets.
A letter to staff from Boeing’s CEO, Stan Deal, shared with media on February 5, noted that misdrilled holes had been discovered by an employee working on the manufacturer’s 737 jets.
While this potential condition is not an immediate safety issue and all 737s can continue operating safely, we currently believe we will have to perform rework on about 50 undelivered planes.Stan Deal, CEO of Boeing
Not safe enough
The misdriled holes problem presents worrying echoes of a recent safety announcement from the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), in which Boeing’s production lines were not deemed safe enough to increase output.
Boeing and parts and fuselage supplier, Spirit AeroSystems, have found themselves under media and regulatory microscopes in recent months, with whistleblowers making accusations of rush jobs and skipped safety inspections, combined with a number of headline-grabbing safety incidents, including a mid-air blow out of a “plug door” and a nose wheel falling off a plane.
Not business as usual
In the wake of the door blow out, the manufacturer found its US fleet of Max 9s grounded, pending new safety regimes. After the Max 9s were deemed safe to fly once new checks had been implemented, the FAA was careful to point out the manufacturer still had some way to go before regaining trust, accelerating operations, and recommencing “business as usual”.
As the manufacturer battles to repair its damaged reputation, it has opted for a transparent approach – and so has withdawn a request for special dispensation from regulators to roll out its 737 Max 7 airliner to customers even though it fails to meet a safety standard aimed at saving part of the engine housing from overheating and breaking off during flight.
Share price down and customers “angry”
Shares of the The Boeing Co have fallen by 20% already in 2024 and saw another 3% drop at the start of trade on Monday.
The drop in market value is only one of the problems dogging the manufacturer however. Its customers could now begin abandoning ship too. While both United Airlines and Alaska have been able to start returning some of their Boeing fleet to service, after hours of inspections, Scott Kirby, CEO of United announced they would be looking at alternative suppliers going forward, and, in stern words, Alaska Airlines CEO Ben Minicucci told NBC Nightly News he was “more than frustrated and disappointed. I am angry.”