Boeing CEO Under Withering Attack in Congress Over Safety Failures

June 18, 2024
Boeing’s CEO came under withering attack in Congress Tuesday as a newly released whistleblower report suggested that the embattled company could be using faulty parts in its new planes.

Boeing’s CEO came under withering attack in Congress Tuesday as a newly released whistleblower report suggested that the embattled company could be using faulty parts in its new planes.

With relatives of recent 737 Max plane crash victims sitting in the audience, David Calhoun said the troubled company was determined to do a better job of building safer planes.

“Our culture is far from perfect, but we are taking action and making progress,” Calhoun said in opening remarks. “We are taking comprehensive action today to strengthen safety and quality.”

Calhoun parried pointed questions from Democrats and Republicans alike on the Senate investigations subcommittee, which is chaired by Boeing critic Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D- Connecticut).

At the start of the hearing, Calhoun stood up and apologized to the crash victims’ families, some of whom held photos of their lost loved ones who perished in 737 Max crashes in Ethiopia and Indonesia.

That wasn’t enough for lawmakers like Sen. Josh Hawley (R- Missouri), who accused Calhoun of cutting corners to boost profits.

“I think it’s a travesty that you have not resigned,” Hawley said.

Hours before Calhoun was set to appear, the Senate panel released an explosive 204-page report filled with new allegations from a whistleblower who said he fears that defective parts are going into Boeing 737 Max jets.

Sam Mohawk, a Boeing investigator at a 737 assembly plant near Seattle, claims the plane-maker hid evidence of faulty parts after the Federal Aviation Administration informed the company a year ago that it would inspect the plant.

“It ordered (parts) moved to another location to intentionally hide (them) from the FAA,” Mohawk said, according to the report.

The parts were later moved back or not kept track of, Mohawk said. They included rudders, wing flaps and tail fins — all crucial in controlling a plane.

The hearing marked the first chance for Congress to grill Calhoun since a door panel blew out of a 737 Max during an Alaska Airlines flight in January.

No one was seriously injured in the incident, but it raised fresh concerns about the company’s best-selling commercial aircraft, especially because it appears bolts that keep the panel in place were missing.

Calhoun’s appearance also was scheduled to take place as the Justice Department considers whether to prosecute Boeing for violating terms of a settlement following the fatal crashes.

The company says it has gotten the message.

Boeing says it has slowed production, encouraged employees to report safety concerns, stopped assembly lines for a day to let workers talk about safety, and it appointed a retired Navy admiral to lead a quality review.

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