Boeing 737 Problem Extends String of Aircraft Dangers

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Boeing logo

Boeing Co. (NYSE: BA) 737 aircraft need to go through an inspection process. That process includes about 1,000 planes. And the problem is serious, which means the aerospace company faces another black eye due to what appears to be design problems. This time, the issue is very serious. It is time for a change in management at Boeing to show that the company wants to solve its manufacturing problems and regain something of its reputation.

According to the Federal Register, the FAA reported:

We are adopting a new airworthiness directive (AD) for all The Boeing Company Model 737-600, -700, -700C, -800, -900, and -900ER series airplanes. This AD was prompted by reports of an incorrect procedure used to apply the wear and corrosion protective surface coating to attach pins of the horizontal stabilizer rear spar. This AD requires inspecting to determine the part number of the attach pins of the horizontal stabilizer rear spar, and replacing certain attach pins with new, improved attach pins. We are issuing this AD to prevent premature failure of the attach pins, which could cause reduced structural integrity of the horizontal stabilizer to fuselage attachment, resulting in loss of control of the airplane.

"Loss of control" is a phrase that will cause anxiety among both carriers and passengers. Boeing's reputation with both those groups already has been undermined by widely reported battery problems in the company's brand new 787 Dreamliner.

Boeing has lost control of its production and quality control functions, as the problems with the two planes show. In some ways, the 737 issue is the greater of the two because so many hundreds of the planes are already in service.

The news about the 737 will place even more pressure on the Boeing board to question the tenure of chairman and CEO W. James (Jim) McNerney Jr. While Boeing's planes cause more and more trouble to the airline industry, the company's corporate public relations reaction has not addressed the safety issue at all. Rather, the company has focused on it position as a global "innovator" and its role as a good "corporate citizen." All the while, airlines have had to cope with the grounding of the 787, and now will need to go though the disruptions of 737 inspections, and whatever future problems that process could bring.

The problems with the 737 will once again erode the flying public's confidence in the safety of Boeing planes.

Boeing's core airplane manufacturing and design functions are appropriately under siege. Someone needs to take responsibility for the breakdowns. After years of being protected by his board, McNerney should be taken to task.

Filed under: 24/7 Wall St. Wire, Aerospace, Corporate Governance Tagged: BA, featured