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.
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’.
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.
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.”
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 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?