Boeing CEO Admits Mistakes in Senate Testimony

Boeing CEO Admits Mistakes in Senate Testimony
Above: Boeing CEO Dave Calhoun returns to his seat after speaking directly to family members of those killed in the Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302 and Lion Air Flight 610 crashes. Image copyright: Andrew Harnik/Staff/Getty Images News via Getty Images

The Facts

  • Boeing Chief Executive Officer Dave Calhoun told the Senate Subcommittee on Investigations on Tuesday that the planemaker has a "far from perfect" culture, but has taken action to improve "transparency and accountability, while elevating employee engagement."

  • In addition, he apologized to families who lost their kin in two Boeing 737 Max fatal crashes years ago in Ethiopia and Indonesia and acknowledged the Alaska Airlines door plug incident in January was due to a manufacturing fault.


The Spin

Narrative A

For years, there have been whistleblower leaks and government warnings about the safety of Boeing's planes — those concerns came to a head after a door plug blew out on an Alaska Airlines flight in January. Boeing's greed and fixation on profits led the company to cut corners on quality control and create a culture of intimidation. Numerous whistleblowers have spoken out against Boeing's reaction to safety hazard reports, but the company is more concerned with a culture of silence than safety.

Narrative B

While the "profits-over-people claims" that media in the US has pushed to explain Boeing's safety problems may generate buzz, the idea that safety and shareholder returns are inversely related is entirely wrong. In fact, safety has enormously increased since the aviation industry was reorganized on competitive profit-and-loss lines in the 1970s. Boeing indeed has at least partial responsibility for recent incidents, and these problems will eventually be sorted out with training, repetition, standardization, and documentation.


Metaculus Prediction


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