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   Technology StocksBoeing keeps setting new highs! When will it split?

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From: John Koligman3/28/2024 6:20:35 PM
2 Recommendations   of 3681
I found the comment at the top disturbing. If your car dies, you can at least move it to the side of the road. It's a whole different can of worms with a passenger jet.

“For years, we prioritized the movement of the airplane through the factory over getting it done right, and that’s got to change,” Brian West, the company’s chief financial officer, said at an investor conference last week.

A Boeing 737 Max 8 aircraft on a test flight in Renton, Wash. “They were just trying to get the plane rate up,” a former mechanic there said of the company.Credit...David Ryder/Bloomberg

‘Shortcuts Everywhere’: How Boeing Favored Speed Over Quality
Problems have plagued the manufacturer even after two fatal crashes, and many current and former employees blame its focus on making planes more quickly.

A Boeing 737 Max 8 aircraft on a test flight in Renton, Wash. “They were just trying to get the plane rate up,” a former mechanic there said of the company.Credit...David Ryder/Bloomberg

By Niraj Chokshi, Sydney Ember and Santul Nerkar

  • March 28, 2024

In February last year, a new Southwest Airlines Boeing 737 Max plane was on one of its first flights when an automated stabilizing system appeared to malfunction, forcing the pilots to make an emergency landing soon after they took off.

Less than two months later, an Alaska Airlines 737 Max plane with eight hours of total flight time was briefly grounded until mechanics resolved a problem with a fire detection system. And in November, an engine on a just-delivered United Airlines 737 Max failed at 37,000 feet.

These incidents, which the airlines disclosed to the Federal Aviation Administration, were not widely reported. There were no indications that anyone was in danger, and it was not clear who was ultimately responsible for those problems. But since Jan. 5, when a panel on a two-month-old Alaska Airlines 737 Max 9 jet blew off in midair, episodes like these have taken on new resonance, raising further questions about the quality of the planes Boeing is producing.

“There’s a lot of areas where things don’t seem to be put together right in the first place,” said Joe Jacobsen, an engineer and aviation safety expert who spent more than a decade at Boeing and more than 25 years at the F.A.A.

“The theme is shortcuts everywhere — not doing the job right,” he added.

Such reports, and interviews with aviation safety experts and more than two dozen current and former Boeing employees, paint a worrying picture about a company long considered to be at the pinnacle of American engineering. They suggest that Boeing is struggling to improve quality years after two crashes of Max 8 planes in 2018 and 2019 killed nearly 350 people.

Some of the crucial layers of redundancies that are supposed to ensure that Boeing’s planes are safe appear to be strained, the people said. The experience level of Boeing’s work force has dropped since the start of the pandemic. The inspection process intended to provide a vital check on work done by its mechanics has been weakened over the years. And some suppliers have struggled to adhere to quality standards while producing parts at the pace Boeing wanted them.

Under pressure to show regulators, airlines and passengers that the company is taking its latest crisis seriously, Boeing announced sweeping changes to its leadership on Monday. The chief executive, Dave Calhoun, will leave at the end of the year, and Stan Deal, the head of the commercial planes division, which makes the 737 Max, retired immediately. The company’s chairman, Larry Kellner, stepped down from that position and will not seek re-election to the board.

When he took the top job in January 2020, Mr. Calhoun said he was determined to improve the company’s safety culture. It added directors with engineering and safety expertise and created a safety committee on its board. Boeing said that it had increased the number of quality inspectors for commercial planes by 20 percent since 2019 and that inspections per plane had also risen.

After the Max 8 crashes, Boeing and its regulators focused most on the cause of those accidents: flawed design and software. Yet some current and former employees say problems with manufacturing quality were also apparent to them at the time and should have been to executives and regulators as well.

After the Jan. 5 mishap, a six-week F.A.A. audit of Boeing’s 737 Max production documented dozens of lapses in Boeing’s quality-control practices. The agency has given the company three months, or until about late May, to address quality-control issues.

Federal officials have traced the panel blowout to Boeing’s factory in Renton, Wash., where the 737 Max is assembled. According to the National Transportation Safety Board, the panel was removed but appeared to have been reinstalled without bolts that secured it in place. That panel is known as a “door plug” and is used to cover the gap left by an unneeded emergency exit.

Current and former Boeing employees said the incident reflected longstanding problems. Several said employees often faced intense pressure to meet production deadlines, sometimes leading to questionable practices that they feared could compromise quality and safety.

Davin Fischer, a former mechanic in Renton, who also spoke to the Seattle TV station KIRO 7, said he noticed a cultural shift starting around 2017, when the company introduced the Max.

“They were trying to get the plane rate up and then just kept crunching, crunching and crunching to go faster, faster, faster,” he said.

The Max was introduced in response to a new fuel-efficient plane from the European manufacturer Airbus. Boeing increased production from about 42 Max jets a month in early 2017 to about 52 the next year. That pace collapsed to virtually zero soon after the second crash, in Ethiopia, when regulators around the world grounded the plane. Flights aboard the Max resumed in late 2020, and the company began to increase production again to avoid falling further behind Airbus.

Now, some Boeing executives admit that they made mistakes.

“For years, we prioritized the movement of the airplane through the factory over getting it done right, and that’s got to change,” Brian West, the company’s chief financial officer, said at an investor conference last week.

Boeing’s factory in Renton, where the 737 Max is assembled. Despite the company’s issues, many employees said they still had a deep respect for Boeing and wanted to see its reputation restored.Credit...Ruth Fremson/The New York Times

Mr. Calhoun has also acknowledged that Boeing must improve but has defended the company’s approach to production. “Over the last several years, we’ve taken close care not to push the system too fast, and we have never hesitated to slow down, to halt production or to stop deliveries to take the time we need to get things right,” he said in January.

Current and former Boeing employees, most of whom spoke on the condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak to reporters and feared retaliation, offered examples of how quality has suffered over the years. Many said they still respected the company and its employees and wanted Boeing to succeed.

One quality manager in Washington State who left Boeing last year said workers assembling planes would sometimes try to install parts that had not been logged or inspected, an attempt to save time by circumventing quality procedures intended to weed out defective or substandard components.

In one case, the employee said, a worker sent parts from a receiving area straight to the factory floor before a required inspection.

A worker currently at Boeing’s 787 Dreamliner factory in North Charleston, S.C., described seeing numerous problems on planes being assembled, including wires being routed incorrectly, raising the risk that they could rub against one another, resulting in damage.

Employees would also sometimes go “inspector shopping” to find someone who would approve work, the worker said.

Some of the concerns echoed accusations of quality lapses by several whistle-blowers at Boeing’s South Carolina factory who spoke to The Times in 2019.

Several current and former employees in South Carolina and in Washington State said mechanics building planes were allowed in some instances to sign off on their own work. Such “self-verification” removes a crucial layer of quality control, they said.

Boeing said in a statement on Wednesday that it had eliminated self-inspections in South Carolina in 2021 and that the practice accounted for less than 10 percent of inspections at other sites. The company inspects each plane before delivery to make sure that wire bundles are appropriately spaced, the statement said, and it does not allow inspector shopping.

Another factor at play in recent years has been that Boeing’s workers have less experience than they did before the pandemic.

When the pandemic took hold in early 2020, air travel plummeted, and many aviation executives believed it would take years for passengers to return in large numbers. Boeing began to cut jobs and encouraged workers to take buyouts or retire early. It ultimately lost about 19,000 employees companywide — including some with decades of experience.

In late 2022, Boeing lost veteran engineers who retired to lock in bigger monthly pension payments, which were tied to interest rates, according to the union that represents them, the Society of Professional Engineering Employees in Aerospace. More than 1,700 union members left the company that year, up from around 1,000 the year before. The members who left had been at the company for more than 23 years on average.

“We warned Boeing that it was going to lose a mountain of expertise, and we proposed some workarounds, but the company blew us off,” Ray Goforth, executive director of the union, said in a statement, adding that he thought the company used the retirements as an opportunity to cut costs by replacing veteran workers with “lower-paid entry-level engineers and technical workers.”

Boeing now employs 171,000 people, including in its commercial plane, defense, services and other divisions. That figure is up about 20 percent from the end of 2020. But many new workers are less seasoned, current and former employees said.

One Boeing employee who conducted quality inspections in Washington State until last year said the company did not always provide new employees with sufficient training, sometimes leaving them to learn crucial skills from more experienced colleagues.

Boeing said that since Jan. 5, employees had asked for more training and that it was working on meeting those needs, including by adding training on the factory floor this month.

District 751 of the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers union, which represents more than 30,000 Boeing employees, said the average tenure of its members had dropped sharply in recent years. The proportion of its members who have less than six years of experience has roughly doubled to 50 percent from 25 percent before the pandemic.

After the Jan. 5 incident, Boeing announced changes to improve quality, including adding inspections at its factory in Renton and at the plant in Wichita, Kan., owned by a supplier, Spirit AeroSystems, that makes the bodies of Max planes.

The Alaska Airlines plane that was forced to make an emergency landing in January after a piece of its fuselage blew out in midair. Because it could take Boeing time address its issues, some carriers said they expected to buy fewer aircraft from the company.Credit...Amanda Lucier for The New York Times

Boeing recently said it would no longer accept Max bodies from Spirit that still needed substantial work. It previously tolerated flaws that could be fixed later in the interest of keeping production on schedule.

Addressing its problems could take Boeing time, aviation experts said, frustrating airlines that need new planes.

Some carriers said recently that they were rejiggering their growth plans because they expected fewer planes from Boeing. Airlines may try to buy more from Airbus.

“They need to go slow to go fast,” Scott Kirby, the chief executive of United Airlines, told investors this month, referring to Boeing. “I think they’re doing that.”

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To: John Koligman who wrote (3641)3/29/2024 11:16:36 AM
From: Selectric II
   of 3681
This is very concerning. Boeing has got to get its act together.

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From: Thomas M.4/7/2024 9:06:21 PM
2 Recommendations   of 3681
Terrifying video shows engine of Southwest Airlines Boeing 737 ripping apart during takeoff

Passengers on a Houston-bound Southwest Airlines flight watched in horror Sunday as an engine on the Boeing 737-800 appeared to come apart mid-flight.

The flight immediately returned to Denver after crew members noticed a removable sheet of metal covering one of the plane’s engines sheared off during takeoff.

In a terrifying video posted on X by ABC’s chief transportation reporter Sam Sweeney, the metal engine cover can be seen whipping in the breeze like paper as it tore loose.


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From: Eric4/8/2024 8:05:19 PM
   of 3681
Boeing’s 777 ‘gliders’ signal more cash woes

April 8, 2024 at 2:52 pm

Two fuselage sections of a 777 freighter at the Boeing production facility in Everett. (Jennifer Buchanan / The Seattle Times, 2022)

Julie Johnsson

Boeing likely didn’t deliver any 777 freighters during the first quarter, adding to its cash woes at a time when 737 MAX handovers are sluggish amid heightened government scrutiny.

The planemaker as of last week had 11 newly built “gliders” — an industry term for finished aircraft that are lacking engines — stashed in and around its factory in Everett, Jefferies analyst Sheila Kahyaoglu said in an April 5 report citing data from Aero Analysis Partners/AIR.

The cash-flow drag from 11 newly built but undelivered 777 freighters would translate to roughly $1.16 billion, according to George Ferguson, analyst with Bloomberg Intelligence. He estimates each aircraft not delivered represents a cash outflow of about $105 million.

The bottleneck highlights how Boeing’s manufacturing challenges extend beyond its cash-cow 737 MAX jet. The aerospace giant is working to bring its factories and supply chain back to a steady cadence under scrutiny from U.S. regulators following a series of quality lapses.

Boeing and the 777 freighter’s engine manufacturer, General Electric, declined to discuss specific details around the delivery hiccup.

“As the aviation industry continues to manage through supply chain constraints, we are working closely with our suppliers and customers on the timing of their deliveries,” Boeing said.

More on Alaska Airlines and the Boeing 737 MAX 9 A GE spokesperson said the company is coordinating GE90 engine production and delivery schedules with Boeing and airline customers.

Like Boeing and Airbus, jet-engine manufacturers are also grappling with labor turnover and parts shortages that have persisted since the pandemic eased. GE executives in early March said about 80% of its delivery shortfalls were tied to constraints at suppliers.

Six 777 freighters were built in March but not delivered, Kahyaoglu said, after the planemaker handed over none to customers during the first two months of this year.

Cirium, which tracks aircraft production, shows that only one of Boeing’s largest cargo-hauling planes took its first factory flight during the quarter. The freighter, ordered by Taiwan’s EVA Air, lumbered into the skies on March 27. Other airlines waiting for the aircraft include Air China Cargo, Qatar Airways and Lufthansa Cargo.

The freighter for Eva Air took off from Paine Field headed to Taiwan at 2:17 p.m. Monday, the first 777 delivery this year.

Boeing is expected to reveal the lack of 777 deliveries on Tuesday, when it announces its orders and deliveries total for March. Airbus also reports its own tallies for the month that same day.

Boeing will likely report that it delivered 30 jets in March, including 24 of its 737 MAX aircraft, Kahyaoglu said.

With assistance from Kiel Porter

This story was originally published at Read it here.

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From: Thomas M.4/9/2024 11:49:51 AM
1 Recommendation   of 3681
“It’s an Empty Executive Suite”

An insider explains what has gone disastrously wrong with Boeing.

Boeing is—or was—a great company. From its manufacturing plants in Seattle, it produced the world’s most reliable, efficient aircraft. But after merging with McDonnell Douglas, shifting production around the world, and moving its headquarters to Chicago and then Arlington, Virginia, the Boeing Company has been adrift.

Then, in October 2018, one of Boeing’s new 737 MAX aircraft crashed. Then, a few months later, another. Recent months have seen embarrassing maintenance failures, including a door plug that blew off an Alaska Airlines plane in mid-flight.

To help explain what went wrong, I have been speaking with a Boeing insider who has direct knowledge of the company’s leadership decisions. He tells a story of elite dysfunction, financial abstraction, and a DEI bureaucracy that has poisoned the culture, creating a sense of profound alienation between the people who occupy the executive suite and those who build the airplanes.

This interview has been edited for length and clarity.

Christopher Rufo: I am hoping you can set the stage. In general terms, what is happening at Boeing?

At its core, we have a marginalization of the people who build stuff, the people who really work on these planes.

In 2018, the first 737 MAX crash that happened, that was an engineering failure. We built a single-point failure in a system that should have no single-point failures. Then a second crash followed. A company cannot survive two crashes from a single aircraft type. Then-CEO Dennis Muilenburg defended the company in front of Congress, defended the engineering, defended the work—and that protected the workforce, but it also prodded the board and stoked public fear, which resulted in a sweeping set of changes that caused huge turnover in talent.

So, right now, we have an executive council running the company that is all outsiders. The current CEO is a General Electric guy, as is the CFO whom he brought in. And we have a completely new HR leader, with no background at Boeing. The head of our commercial-airplanes unit in Seattle, who was fired last week, was one of the last engineers in the executive council.

The headquarters in Arlington is empty. Nobody lives there. It is an empty executive suite. The CEO lives in New Hampshire. The CFO lives in Connecticut. The head of HR lives in Orlando. We just instituted a policy that everyone has to come into work five days a week—except the executive council, which can use the private jets to travel to meetings. And that is the story: it is a company that is under caretakers. It is not under owners. And it is not under people who love airplanes.

In this business, the workforce knows if you love the thing you are building or if it’s just another set of assets to you. At some point, you cannot recover with process what you have lost with love. And I think that is probably the most important story of all. There is no visible center of the company, and people are wondering what they are connected to.

Rufo: If they have lost the love of building airplanes, what is the love, if any, that they bring to the job?

Insider: Status games rule every boardroom in the country. The DEI narrative is a very real thing, and, at Boeing, DEI got tied to the status game. It is the thing you embrace if you want to get ahead. It became a means to power.

DEI is the drop you put in the bucket, and the whole bucket changes. It is anti-excellence, because it is ill-defined, but it became part of the culture and was tied to compensation. Every HR email is: “Inclusion makes us better.” This kind of politicization of HR is a real problem in all companies.

If you look at the bumper stickers at the factories in Renton or Everett, it’s a lot of conservative people who like building things—and conservative people do not like politics at work.

The radicalization of HR doesn’t hurt tech businesses like it hurts manufacturing businesses. At Google, they’re making a large profit margin and pursuing very progressive hiring policies. Because they are paying 30 percent or 40 percent more than the competition in salary, they are able to get the top 5 percent of whatever racial group they want. They can afford, in a sense, to pay the “DEI tax” and still find top people.

But this can be catastrophic in lower-margin or legacy companies. You are playing musical chairs, and if you do the same things that Google is doing, you are going to end up with the bottom 20 percent of the preferred population.

Rufo: What else does the public not understand about what is happening at Boeing?

Boeing is just a symptom of a much bigger problem: the failure of our elites. The purpose of the company is now “broad stakeholder value,” including DEI and ESG. This was then embraced as a means to power, which further separated the workforce from the company. And it is ripping our society apart.

Boeing is the most visible example because every problem—like, say, a bolt that falls off—gets amplified. But this is happening everywhere around us, and it is going to have a huge effect. DEI and ESG became a way to stop talking honestly to employees.

We need to tear off the veil of all this coded language that is being used everywhere, and our elites need to recover some sense of service to people. They think they have it already because they are reciting these shibboleths of moral virtue: “I am serving because I am repeating what everyone else is saying about DEI.” It’s a form of cheap self-love that is being embraced by leaders. If you pay the tax to the DEI gods or the ESG gods and use coded language with your workforce, it absolves you of the hard work of really leading.

No. Service means you are spending the extra time to understand what’s really happening in the factory and in your supply chain. There should be some honor in understanding that we inherited something beautiful and good and worth loving.


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From: John Koligman4/9/2024 2:33:37 PM
   of 3681
Man, when it rains it pours....

F.A.A. Investigates Claims by Boeing Whistle-Blower About Flaws in 787 Dreamliner
The whistle-blower, an engineer, says that sections of the plane’s body are being assembled in a way that could weaken the aircraft over time. Boeing says there is no safety issue.

The Boeing 787 Dreamliner is a twin-aisle jet that is more fuel efficient than many other aircraft used for long trips, in part because of its lightweight composite construction.Credit...Pool photo by Reuters

By Mark Walker and James Glanz

Mark Walker reported from Washington, and James Glanz from New York.

April 9, 2024Updated 12:42 p.m. ET

Sign up for the On Politics newsletter. Your guide to the 2024 elections. Get it sent to your inbox.

The Federal Aviation Administration is investigating claims made by a Boeing engineer who says that sections of the fuselage of the 787 Dreamliner are improperly fastened together and could break apart mid-flight after thousands of trips.

The engineer, Sam Salehpour, who worked on the plane, detailed his allegations in interviews with The New York Times and in documents sent to the F.A.A. A spokesman for the agency confirmed that it was investigating the allegations but declined to comment on them.

Mr. Salehpour, whose résumé says he has worked at Boeing for more than a decade, said the problems with fastening the sections came about as a result of changes in how the enormous sections were fitted and fastened together in the manufacturing assembly line. The fuselages for the plane come in several pieces, all from different manufacturers, and they are not exactly the same shape where they fit together, he said.

Boeing concedes those manufacturing changes were made, but a spokesman for the company, Paul Lewis, said there was “no impact on durability or safe longevity of the airframe.”

Mr. Lewis said Boeing had done extensive testing on the Dreamliner and “determined that this is not an immediate safety of flight issue.”

“Our engineers are completing complex analysis to determine if there may be a long-term fatigue concern for the fleet in any area of the airplane,” Mr. Lewis said. “This would not become an issue for the in-service fleet for many years to come, if ever, and we are not rushing the team so that we can ensure that analysis is comprehensive.”

In a subsequent statement, Boeing said it was “fully confident in the 787 Dreamliner,” adding, “These claims about the structural integrity of the 787 are inaccurate and do not represent the comprehensive work Boeing has done to ensure the quality and long-term safety of the aircraft.”

Mr. Salehpour’s allegations add another element to the intense scrutiny that Boeing has been facing since a door panel blew off a 737 Max jet during an Alaska Airlines flight in early January, raising questions about the company’s manufacturing practices. Since then, the plane maker has announced a leadership overhaul, and the Justice Department has begun a criminal investigation.

Mr. Salehpour’s concerns are set to receive an airing on Capitol Hill later this month. Senator Richard Blumenthal, Democrat of Connecticut and the chairman of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee’s investigations subcommittee, is planning to hold a hearing with Mr. Salehpour on April 17. Mr. Blumenthal said he wanted the flying public to hear from the engineer firsthand.

“Repeated, shocking allegations about Boeing’s manufacturing failings point to an appalling absence of safety culture and practices — where profit is prioritized over everything else,” Mr. Blumenthal said in a statement.

The Dreamliner is a wide-body jet that is more fuel efficient than many other aircraft used for long trips, in part because of its lightweight composite construction. First delivered in 2011, the twin-aisle plane has both racked up orders for Boeing and created headaches for the company. For years, the plane maker has dealt with a succession of issues involving the jet, including battery problems that led to the temporary grounding of 787s around the world.

Boeing has also confronted a slew of problems at its plant in South Carolina where the Dreamliner is built. A prominent Boeing whistle-blower who raised concerns about manufacturing practices at the plant, John Barnett, was found dead last month with what appeared to be a self-inflicted gunshot wound.

The Dreamliner was a pioneer in using large amounts of so-called composite materials rather than traditional metal to build the plane, including major sections like the fuselage, as the aircraft’s body is known. Often made by combining materials like carbon and glass fibers, composites are lighter than metals but, as comparatively newer materials, less is known about how they hold up to the long-term stresses of flight. Those stresses create what engineers call fatigue, which can compromise safety if it causes the material to fail.

Mr. Salehpour said he was repeatedly retaliated against for raising concerns about shortcuts he believed the plane maker was taking in joining together the pieces of the Dreamliner’s fuselage.

Debra S. Katz, a lawyer for Mr. Salehpour, said that her client did everything possible to bring his concerns to the attention of Boeing officials. She added that company officials did not listen. Instead, she said that her client was silenced and transferred.

“This is the culture that Boeing has allowed to exist,” Ms. Katz said. “This is a culture that prioritizes production of planes and pushes them off the line even when there are serious concerns about the structural integrity of those planes and their production process.”

In its statement, Boeing said it encouraged its workers “to speak up when issues arise,” adding, “Retaliation is strictly prohibited at Boeing.”

The F.A.A. interviewed Mr. Salehpour on Friday, Ms. Katz said. In a statement, Mike Whitaker, the agency’s administrator, did not specifically address Mr. Salehpour’s allegations, but he reiterated that the regulator was taking a hard line against the plane maker after the Alaska Airlines episode.

“This won’t be back to business as usual for Boeing,” Mr. Whitaker said. “They must commit to real and profound improvements. Making foundational change will require a sustained effort from Boeing’s leadership, and we are going to hold them accountable every step of the way.”

Mark Walker is an investigative reporter focused on transportation. He is based in Washington. More about Mark Walker

James Glanz is a Times international and investigative reporter covering major disasters, conflict and deadly failures of technology. More about James Glanz

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To: John Koligman who wrote (3646)4/10/2024 8:02:50 AM
From: Jeff Vayda
1 Recommendation   of 3681
Not that I know anything particular about this situation, but a statement like this gives me pause: " Mr. Salehpour said he was repeatedly retaliated against for raising concerns about shortcuts he believed the plane maker was taking in joining together the pieces of the Dreamliner’s fuselage."

Ive been around similar engineering instances when one guy thinks he knows best. IF he has raised this issue repeatedly, I trust other engineers would have eventually come around to his way of thinking - IF he had a point.

IMO going before Congress is WAY down on the list of appropriate ways to handle this situation and way up on the list of ways someone who thinks he know best reacts. Just saying....

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To: Jeff Vayda who wrote (3647)4/10/2024 12:54:36 PM
From: John Koligman
   of 3681
I hear you, but at this point BA's credibility is not very high. How they handled the 737 MAX flight control debacle and the continued assembly problems give one pause. They don't seem to be able to get a handle on it either, and for years now the C Suite has become a revolving door.

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To: Thomas M. who wrote (3645)4/11/2024 9:23:49 AM
From: roto
1 Recommendation   of 3681
Boeing won’t even consider moving HQ back to Seattle

Samuel Corum/Getty Images

Chris Isidore, CNN
Thu, April 11, 2024 at 4:00 AM PDT

It’s been a brutal six years for Boeing, with two fatal jet crashes kicking off a series of safety crises — and raising concerns about the quality and safety of the planes rolling off its assembly lines.

As Boeing scrambles to repair its reputation, some critics and shareholders are asking: Why not move headquarters away from the shadow of Washington, D.C., and back home to its roots in Seattle?

But Boeing has now made clear: We are not interested.

An individual Boeing stockholder, Walter Ryan, wanted to put the question of a move up for a vote during the company’s May 17 annual shareholder meeting. He filed his proposal in October for the shareholder vote, which would have been non-binding — but in February, Boeing went to the Securities and Exchange Commission, ultimately winning approval to block the vote.

Ryan, who owns 10,000 shares of Boeing stock, lives in Las Vegas and has never been to Seattle. But he believes that if Boeing is to fix its current quality and safety problems, the company’s top management should be back in Seattle — near where most of its commercial aircraft are still manufactured.

“I think they need some hands-on overseeing, and by som ebody who has skin in the game,” Ryan told CNN.

Boeing’s corporate offices had been in Seattle from its founding in 1916 until it relocated to Chicago in 2001. Then in 2022, Boeing corporate moved again — this time to Arlington, Virginia, near the Pentagon and across the river from Capitol Hill. Most manufacturing, however, remains more than 2,300 miles away in Seattle.

“They want to be next to government,” Ryan said. “Is that a sound idea? I don’t think so.”

It isn’t only shareholders like Ryan who believe a return to Seattle would benefit Boeing.

“Part of it would be symbolic,” said Shem Malmquist, a Boeing 777 pilot and instructor of aviation safety at Florida Tech. “But it’s also going to be better culturally. In the end, the closer the top management is to the production and what’s going on and the engineers, the better.”

Boeing’s response

In his proposal he wanted presented to shareholders, Ryan said the corporate move from Seattle and separation from the core manufacturing business resulted in major issues related to “engineering and quality problems, and Boeing’s historic credibility,” — concerns he said are now foremost “in the minds of both travelers and shareholders.”

Ryan wrote the proposal even before a headline-grabbing incident in January, when the door panel of a Boeing 737 Max blew off in the middle of an Alaska Airlines flight, later found to be because the aircraft left the factory missing crucial bolts needed to keep it in place.

Boeing’s attorneys argued to the SEC that this isn’t an appropriate issue for shareholder vote: “The proposal seeks to ‘micro-manage’ the company by probing too deeply into matters of a complex nature upon which shareholders, as a group, would not be in a position to make an informed judgment.”

Further, Boeing’s attorneys dismissed the premise of Ryan’s argument, calling it “an unsupported theory that certain manufacturing issues experienced by Boeing would have been avoided simply because the company’s headquarters were located in a particular city, emphasizing, among other things, management’s ability to walk the factory floor.”

The SEC agreed that Boeing it did not need to put Ryan’s proposal on its proxy statement, which was released Friday. Boeing told CNN it did not have any comment beyond those included in its filing to the agency.

Ryan said he believes his proposal — which would have allowed shareholders only to “recommend” a move back to Seattle, not mandate it — would have won had it been put up for a vote.

“That’s why I sent it in. I thought it would pass, and thought it would be a good idea,” he told CNN.

Speaking broadly, however, even shareholder proposals that are put to a vote are not likely to pass — especially recently.

According to Institutional Shareholder Services, which tracks shareholder votes, only 5.4% of votes held in 2023 on shareholder proposals received majority support. That’s down sharply from 12.6% in 2022, and 19.5% in 2021.

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From: Eric4/11/2024 2:29:54 PM
   of 3681

Have Boeing planes really had more problems lately? Look at the numbers

April 10, 2024 at 9:45 am Updated April 10, 2024 at 9:45 am

Alaska’s first MAX 9 flight since the blowout takes off from Seattle-Tacoma International Airport to San Diego International Airport, January 26, 2024. (Karen Ducey / The Seattle Times)

Paige Cornwell
Seattle Times staff reporter

Soon after a door piece blew out of an Alaska Airlines Boeing 737 MAX 9, travel website Kayak saw a spike in people using its aircraft filter — a way for travelers to include or exclude different models of planes when choosing their flights.

As news came out about the January incident, the number of users clicking to exclude Boeing 737s in their search results jumped fifteenfold from the month before, according to Kayak. Other incidents, like an older 737 with “stuck” rudder pedals in New Jersey in February or another 737 that rolled onto the grass after landing in Houston in March, for example, have added to Boeing’s woes — and likely kept Kayak’s filter usage higher than normal.

Experts say Boeing-averse passengers’ fears are understandable but largely unfounded. And data from the National Transportation Safety Board suggests the number of Boeing accidents and incidents involving passenger flights this year is in line with previous years going back at least a decade.

Aviation officials are quick to point out the overwhelming safety of flying. The FAA handles an average of 45,000 flights per day in the U.S. and nearly all take off and land without issue. Worldwide, the total accident rate in 2023 was one accident for every 1.26 million flights, the lowest rate in more than a decade, according to the trade group International Air Transportation Association. Last year, there were no fatal accidents involving passenger jet aircraft.....

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