Boeing President and CEO Addresses U.S. Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations

June 18, 2024
"...we are taking comprehensive action today to strengthen safety and quality. And, we know, as America’s premier aerospace manufacturer, this is what you and the flying public have every right to expect from us."
Boeing President and CEO Dave Calhoun submitted the following written testimony to the U.S. Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations.
Written Testimony of David L. Calhoun
June 18, 2024
Chairman Blumenthal, Ranking Member Johnson, Members of the Subcommittee, thank you for inviting me to appear before you today along with Boeing Chief Engineer, Howard McKenzie.
Before I begin my opening remarks, I would like to speak directly to those who lost loved ones on Lion Air Flight 610 and Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302. I want to personally apologize, on behalf of everyone at Boeing. We are deeply sorry for your losses. Nothing is more important than the safety of the people who step on board our airplanes. Every day we seek to honor the memory of those lost through a steadfast commitment to safety and quality.
Nearly every second, a Boeing commercial or defense product takes off and lands somewhere around the world, making us responsible for the safety of millions of passengers and flight crews every day, including our men and women in uniform.
Aerospace safety is built on a robust industrywide system that relies on self-disclosure, accountability, and continuous learning. This scrutiny – to be held to the highest standard – is fundamental to why commercial aviation is the safest mode of transportation today.
I come from this industry, and I know full well that this is an industry where we simply must get it right, every time.
I’ve served as President and CEO of Boeing since January 2020.
I joined the aviation industry as president and CEO of GE Aircraft Engines. My introduction to aerospace safety was after the tragic accident in 1989 of United Airlines Flight 232 in Sioux City, Iowa, due to an uncontained engine failure. It led to sweeping changes in our industry’s safety management processes and contributed significantly to flight safety. From this experience, I understand the gravity of Boeing’s role in upholding the integrity of aerospace safety in our industry.
We deeply regret the impact that the Alaska Airlines Flight 1282 accident had on Alaska Airlines’ team and its passengers, and we are grateful to the pilots and crew for safely landing the plane. We are thankful that there were no fatalities.
From the beginning, we took responsibility and cooperated transparently with the NTSB and the FAA in their respective investigations. In our factories and in our supply chain, we took immediate action to ensure the specific circumstances that led to this accident would not happen again. Importantly, we went beyond to look comprehensively at our quality and manufacturing systems.
To launch this more comprehensive look, we’ve held stand downs in our plants, we have listened to our employees and acted on their ideas. We have brought in an independent quality expert to assess our processes. And, we have announced our intention to re-acquire Spirit AeroSystems, the manufacturer of our fuselage.
In consideration of these inputs, Boeing developed a comprehensive safety and quality action plan with specific metrics, which we will use to hold ourselves accountable and the FAA will use to provide the oversight required.
Most importantly, it is our people – over 170,000 around the world – who are our greatest strength. We’ve asked every one of our employees to consider themselves an aviation safety advocate.
We are committed to making sure every employee feels empowered to speak up if there is a problem. We also have strict policies in place to prohibit retaliation against employees who come forward. It is our job to listen, regardless of how we obtain feedback, and handle it with the seriousness it deserves.
Much has been said about Boeing’s culture. We’ve heard those concerns loud and clear. Our culture is far from perfect, but we are taking action and making progress. We understand the gravity, and we are committed to moving forward with transparency and accountability, while elevating employee engagement.
Our airplanes have carried the equivalent of more than double the population of the planet. Getting this right is critical for our company, for the customers who fly our planes every day, and for our country.
We are part of a global ecosystem – composed of manufacturers, suppliers, airlines, airports, air traffic controllers, and regulators – that are all committed to learning from every incident. It is this relentless focus on improvement that has led to our industry’s unparalleled safety record.
And it is with that mindset, we are taking comprehensive action today to strengthen safety and quality. And, we know, as America’s premier aerospace manufacturer, this is what you and the flying public have every right to expect from us.
Thank you. Howard and I look forward to answering your questions.