Boeing Brands Internal Communications ‘Completely Unacceptable’

Boeing’s release of hundreds of previously redacted messages has brought to light some serious allegations by the company’s employees. Messages from its workers include statements that the MAX was ‘designed by monkeys’ and point to covering up issues from the FAA. Boeing has responded to the statements branding them completely unacceptable.

737 MAX
The 737 MAX was ‘designed by monkeys’ according to Boeing employees. Photo: Getty Images.

Damming comments from Boeing employees

In case you missed it, this morning has thrown a light on some internal communications sent around Boeing back in 2017 which raised some serious questions about the development of both the 737 MAX and its simulators.

Some of the comments were really damming to Boeing, expressing distrust, admitting cover-ups and generally showing the company in a very bad light. Others mocked FAA rules and even joked about flaws in the 737 MAX while it was under development. Boeing has said it regrets these statements and has branded them ‘completely unacceptable’.

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Interestingly, these communications were not ‘leaked’, there was no whistleblower involved or covertness about it. Indeed, Boeing has released hundreds of redacted messages voluntarily, in a bid to pursue a more transparent and open image going forward.

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737 MAX Getty
Boeing calls the messages ‘completely unacceptable’. Photo: Getty

What did the messages say?

The content of the messages revealed by Boeing has not been good press for the company. Some of the most damming messages include one where two employees were expressing their dislike of the 737 MAX. One said,

“This airplane is designed by clowns who in turn are supervised by monkeys.”

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There was also an accusation around the lack of mandatory simulator training for pilots transitioning to the MAX from the other 737 models. One message read,

“You can be away from an NG for 30 years and still be able to jump into a MAX? LOVE IT!!”

However, despite workers expressing concern for pilots jumping into a MAX without further training, Boeing’s chief technical pilot was clear that no additional training would be mandated. A message from March 2017 read,

“I want to stress the importance of holding firm that there will not be any type of simulator training required to transition from the NG to MAX. Boeing will not allow that to happen. We’ll go face to face with any regulator who tries to make that a requirement.”

One message appears to admit to not being truthful with the FAA. It says,

“I still haven’t been forgiven by God for the covering up I did last year.”

The unredacted messages were turned over to the FAA and to Congress in December, as part of Boeing’s commitment to transparency with the regulator. More than 100 pages of internal messages have been shared, plunging Boeing into a fresh crisis over its development of the 737 MAX.

Boeing 737 MAX
It’s a new crisis for the US planemaker. Photo: Getty

Boeing’s response

Boeing has issued an official statement regarding these communications. In it, the company describes the language and messages as ‘provocative’, and admits that, in some cases, they will “raise questions about Boeing’s interactions with the FAA in connection with the simulator qualification process.” The company went on to say,

“These communications do not reflect the company we are and need to be, and they are completely unacceptable.”

Boeing also said that it regrets the content of the communications and apologizes to all its stakeholders for the content of these messages. It said it will take appropriate action in response, including disciplinary or other personnel action.

What do you make of these messages? Is there an underlying problem at Boeing, or is this just typical workplace banter that would normally never see the light of day?

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Gary

Sure sounds like that the workers know more about the aircraft and that.
Than the pencil pushers and bean counters.
The whole management needs replacing now.

colm

Massive Egg on face…………………….. The fact the the messages were sent by Boeing means nothing. It just means they sent them before they were found and made send them

Roman

Thanks to Boeing Scandals we saw the real face of American Quality Standards – correction – American Bad Quality Standards. United States is not a “Nation” and does not have a “Nation Culture”. So they do NOT care the human, human life and humanity. Their unique culture and value are “Money”. If money becomes the most valuable and most important item in a country then “Fraud, Corruption and Cheat” flourish there and “Accountants” become the ruler of the country just like United States – correction – United Corporations. The most unreliable, sinister and dangerous products are Made in USA or… Read more »

Norman

Boeing still wielding the big stick against employees instead of ditching the Roosevelt model. This old idea of command and control falls short in a world of complex interactions where followers demand more from their leaders. They need to learn to hold conversations which are carefully structured to unlock the wealth of knowledge and experience within the professionals and the work force. What’s important in times of fast and constant change is a sensitivity for noticing small differences. These differences – times when someone does their job exceptionally well, for example – are instances of what’s wanted in the organisation.… Read more »

HereWeGo

If you want a good (and well made) product, it’s essential to listen very attentively to the ones who actually build it for you – your employees!!!! …Boeing-management must be in a state of complete delusion of godly grandeur, that way a company can only fail in the end… Basic business lesson for premature narcissists.
Lesson in general: when people feel offended, someone has told the thruth. Always.

Michael

Interesting. Boeing are trying to sell the release as them being transparent and taking responsibility. My guess is that they are getting them out now on their own terms, as they know they’ll get out eventually. I would bet that any damning messages that implicate senior management were conveniently omitted. It’s setting the narrative to lay the blame on lower level management and perhaps a few scapegoats higher up. Im sure their investigation will show that senior management were deceived, and if they had known they would have never allowed anything that could pose a risk to public safety. Also… Read more »

High Mile Club

“This airplane is designed by clowns who in turn are supervised by monkeys.”

To give the aircraft designers credit, you can at least say they have more going on upstairs than those who only focused on profit.

stogieguy7

The clowns are the money guys who forced the designers to come up with an airliner to compete with the 320neo series on a bare-bones budget and squeaky tight time frame. The only way that they had any hope of doing this was to create a “frankenplane” that required no simulator time and a minimum of extra flight crew training time (in order to make it marketable). And to do that required sliding certain inconvenient facts about this thing’s aerodynamics and center of gravity under the carpet. And here we are….

Jack

Just because Boeing released these to seem more ‘transparent’ doesn’t mean i’m going to trust them after the shit they’ve pulled. They should’ve learned that mistakes can bring airplanes down. They had a wake up with the 787 battery issues (not that it was their fault), so ideally, they’d take caution with their next airliner and restore their reputation right? These would’ve come out sooner or later, wether it be from a whistleblower or leak, it doesn’t make Boeing look any better for them to release these themselves. Having friends that have flown on the MAX, they’ve said it’s a… Read more »

Chris

Unfortunately several of the 737 MAX issues are carry-overs from the 737 NG and for me it is a concern there are a huge number of 737-800/900’s out there. In moderation of this fear, their accident rate is still extremely low but I will stay clear of the MAX until it proves itself. This may apply to my thinking on 777X also!

Frank

I think they fired Muilenberg a bit too early. For his $50 some odd million they should have let him hang around until these came out, THEN you let him go. This way you can say we got rid of the bad guy…

Now the new guy will have to answer for all of this, when he inevitably get hauled in for questioning….

Chuck

All the above reflects a bunch of MBAs obsessed with yield management (ie: short cuts) and fat bonuses at any costs. Yet, when shit hits the fan, they are the first to bail out with golden parachutes.

stogieguy7

Completely unacceptable for employees to let the cat out of the bag that the MAX is an ill-designed piece of [email protected] that was thrown together quickly in a pure play for profits over safety. Yeah, fire those who dare to comment on that.

Frank L

Anyone who has worked under McNerney can understand these comments, and he was the one who set the culture that the Max was designed under. The 6 sigma culture was brutal, and making the numbers was paramount. As soon as we read about Boeing eliminating a warning light to save money, we knew 6 sigma was in action. If McNerney was head of an auto company they would eliminate airbags secretly with the excuse “well very few customers use them”.

Michael

And the conversation would go –
Can you prove this car needs and airbag?
Well no I can’t predict the future, but common sense would…
Well then stop trying to cause problems when there aren’t any, we have KPI’s to meet.