“We understand the seriousness” of the situation: the boss of Boeing explains himself to the American Senate

“We understand the seriousness” of the situation: the boss of Boeing explains himself to the American Senate
“We understand the seriousness” of the situation: the boss of Boeing explains himself to the American Senate

At the start of his testimony, Mr. Calhoun stood up, turned around and apologized “on behalf of all Boeing employees around the world, past and present, for (their) losses.”

“I apologize for the grief we have caused, and I want you to know that we are fully committed, in their memory, to working and focusing on safety for this long” as necessary.

“Again, I’m sorry.”added the leader, before resuming his place in front of the senators.

“It’s a manufacturing defect. It created a dangerous plane”admitted Mr. Calhoun.

According to the United States Transportation Safety Agency (NTSB), several fastening bolts had not been put back in place after an intervention on the assembly line.

For many months, Boeing has been experiencing production and quality problems with its commercial aircraft (737 MAX, 787 Dreamliner and 777).

“Empty” promises

“It’s a culture that continues to put profits first, push the envelope and ignore its employees,” denounced Democratic Senator Richard Blumenthal, chairman of the commission of inquiry. The promises made by Boeing after the crashes – which left 346 dead – were nothing but “empty shells”.

Speaking directly to Mr. Calhoun, he criticized him “the erosion of safety culture” to “take care of (its) shareholders”.

Mr. Calhoun was appointed CEO at the start of 2020 – he had been a director since 2009 – to turn around the group. But production failures precipitated his retirement by the end of 2024.

Several audits and investigations have identified numerous “non-compliance” issues and deficiencies, particularly in quality control.

This commission of inquiry has already heard, in mid-April, four whistleblowers. She published new elements reported by other whistleblowers on Tuesday.

Boeing submitted a “comprehensive action plan” at the end of May, required by the aviation regulator (FAA), to remedy these problems.

Lawsuits?

The stakes are high because the group is threatened with criminal charges in federal court in Texas.

According to the US Department of Justice, Boeing “did not comply with its obligations” under a so-called deferred prosecution agreement (DPA) linked to these accidents, concluded on January 7, 2021 with a three-year surveillance period. .

Accused of fraud in the 737 MAX certification process, Boeing agreed to pay $2.5 billion and committed, among other things, to strengthening its compliance program.

The aircraft manufacturer claims to have complied with the agreement. The ministry must decide, before July 7, whether to continue or not.

Mr. Blumenthal, a former federal prosecutor, said Tuesday that there were “overwhelming elements” to launch prosecutions. “There should be individual responsibility”he added.

“I strongly believe in the need for accountability,” Mr. Calhoun commented.

“If there is no risk of imprisonment for these leaders who play with our lives, then nothing will change,” Adnaan Sumo, who lost his sister in the March 10, 2019 crash in Ethiopia, told AFP.

“Criminals should be in prison,” added Clariss Moore, mother of Danielle, 24.

At their side was Nadia Milleron, who lost her daughter Samya Rose Stumo, 27 years old.

Dave Calhoun “was closely involved in all of these decisions. Dave Calhoun is part of the problem”she said, describing as “scandalous” the fact that he discarded several times by saying he only arrived in 2020.

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