(AP) - Boeing papers show employees slid 737 Max problems past FAA
A newly released batch of emails and text messages shows Boeing employees raising doubts among themselves about the safety of the 737 Max and talking about hiding problems from regulators.
The documents came to light Thursday, nearly 10 months after the aircraft was grounded over two catastrophic crashes.
They are likely to fuel allegations that the aircraft manufacturer put speed and cost savings ahead of safety in rolling out the Max.
Boeing ousted CEO Dennis Muilenburg in late December over the 737 Max crisis that has engulfed the vaunted American aircraft manufacturer. The board’s current chairman, David Calhoun, will become CEO on Monday.
The troubled Max has been grounded worldwide after two crashes — one off the coast of Indonesia in 2018, the other in Ethiopia last March — killed 346 people in all.
Boeing is still struggling to get the grounded plane flying again.
The manufacturer announced last month that it will temporarily stop producing its grounded 737 Max jet starting in January as it struggles to get approval from regulators to put the plane back in the air.
The company says it will halt production at its plant with 12,000 employees in Renton, Washington, near Seattle.
Problems for Boeing and its troubled 737 Max aircraft are beginning to ripple outward with a major supplier announcing that it will lay off more than 20% of its workforce in Kansas, where it is based.
The announcement of 2,800 layoffs at a major employer in Wichita, the state’s biggest city, comes one day after documents became public showing that Boeing employees raised doubts about the safety of the 737 Max.
The layoffs threaten to damage a state economy that’s been solid for months, with low unemployment.
Spirit produced about 70% of the 737 Max, including the fuselage.
Contracts with Boeing for the Max represent more than half of Spirit’s annual income.
Federal safety officials say they will fine Boeing $5.4 million for installing substandard parts on the wings of some of its now-grounded 737 Max jetliners.
The Federal Aviation Administration said Friday that poor oversight of suppliers led Boeing to install the parts, which could become brittle and weak because of mistakes during manufacturing.
Boeing already faces a $3.9 million fine for installing the same flawed parts on other 737s besides the Max.
The faulty wing parts are not believed to have played any role in the two crashes that led to the grounding of the Max.