Dec 10, 2019

Whistleblower: I warned Boeing about 737 issues before crashes

Photo: Xinhua/Joel Lerner via Getty Images

The Federal Aviation Administration is investigating claims by former Boeing manager Ed Pierson that he warned the company of issues affecting 737 Max planes months before two deadly crashes involving the fleet.

Where it stands: Pierson is due to testify before Congress this week on the firm's safety failures. He told NBC News that he lobbied Boeing executives in the summer of 2018 through spring 2019 to check on conditions at a Boeing plant in Renton, Washington.

  • Pierson claims a drive to increase 737 production at the plant sparked a "factory in chaos" and risked tired workers making dangerous mistakes, per NBC.
  • "All my internal warning bells are going off," Pierson wrote to Scott Campbell, the manager of the 737 Max program in June 2018, the New York Times notes.
  • "And for the first time in my life, I’m sorry to say that I’m hesitant about putting my family on a Boeing airplane," Pierson added.

What they're saying: In a statement, Boeing said: "Although Mr. Pierson did not provide specific information or detail about any particular defect or quality issue, Boeing took his concerns about 737 production disruption seriously."

The big picture: A 737 Max made at the Renton plant went down near Indonesia in October 2018. Another 737 Max crashed in Ethiopia in March.

  • No conclusive evidence shows that the problems Pierson reported are linked to the crashes.
  • Max 737s have been grounded while investigations continue.

Go deeper: Boeing exec exits as 737 MAX crisis continues

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Boeing to temporarily suspend production of 737 MAX jet

Boeing factory in Renton, Washington. Photo: Jason Redmond/AFP via Getty Images

Boeing will temporarily suspend production of its 737 MAX in January as it continues to grapple with the ongoing issues that caused two fatal crashes and prompted the company to ground the jet for nine months, according to the New York Times.

Why it matters: The suspension will likely hurt manufacturers and part suppliers who rely on Boeing's business. The company is the largest component of the Dow Jones Industrial Average and the nation's biggest manufacturing exporter, according to the Times.

Go deeperArrowDec 16, 2019

Buckle up: Boeing 737 shutdown indicates turbulence ahead

Workers walk to the Boeing 737 factory on Monday. Photo: Stephen Brashear/Getty Images

Boeing's decision to indefinitely halt production of its controversial 737 MAX will test the resilience of its sprawling global supply chain, not to mention the U.S. economy, tens of thousands of aerospace workers and airlines that are waiting for planes to be delivered.

The big picture: The 737 MAX has been grounded worldwide since March following two crashes that killed 346 people. Investigators have zeroed in on software that played a role in both crashes, but Boeing has yet to deliver a solution that satisfies the Federal Aviation Administration.

Go deeperArrowDec 17, 2019

Podcast: Boeing's unfriendly skies

Boeing next month will indefinitely stop production on its 737 MAX jets, as it remains unable to get FAA approval to resume operation after two crashes killed over 300 people. Dan digs in with pilot and aviation expert Jeff Wise.

Go deeper: Boeing 737 shutdown indicates turbulence ahead

Keep ReadingArrowDec 17, 2019