Boeing’s 737 Max was grounded in March of 2019 after two crashes five months apart killed 346 people. The cause was the egregious oversight of the Seattle-based airplane manufacturer where design flaws in the automated flight-control system were not corrected and equipment that did not function as promised because of faulty sensors.
The findings led to a 20-month flight ban, a loss of billions in revue and a shaken faith in a company touted as a bright spot in the American economy. The FAA safety agency was even taken to task for allowing Boeing to approve its own planes.
Internal documents showed that:
- Boeing employees expressing safety concerns were ignored.
- Regulators were mocked.
- Employees boasted of removing stringent training requirements.
The company now has 450 new planes waiting for clearance. There were reportedly orders for 3,000 jetliners before the crashes, but whether customers honor their request remains to be seen.
Families are not so quick to forgive
Some family members have raised concerns about the quality of the fixes. “They cut corners in the original design and they’re cutting corners on the fixes,” said Michael Stumo, whose daughter Samya died in the second 737 Max crash. “Passengers should just simply avoid it.”
However, after a tense standoff between the company and the FAA, both contend that the fixes work and the time has come to use the planes. There is also federal legislation drafted that would strengthen the FAA’s oversight on manufacturers. But the fact is that those 346 were preventable if the equipment worked properly.