737MAX, a year later and it’s not over

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This week is the occasion to mark the first anniversary of the crash of the Ethiopian 302 flight. It is the appropriate time to have a thought for the victims of this flight and those of Lion Air flight 610. The 346 victims of these two fateful flight should never be forgotten. It is not only MCAS that is involved in these two tragedies but the entire design and certification of the 737MAX.

The Crisis

Throughout the past year, troubling revelations where brought out on a regular base. The 737MAX has now been banned from flying for a year and production has been halted since the beginning of 2020. Boeing President and CEO Denis Muilenburg has been replaced. The past 12 months have been the worst in 104 years for Boeing.

The 737MAX crisis is still far from over because there is still a long way to go. For Boeing, there is much more to it than just patching up the 737MAX. The casualness with which the risk analyzes, including that on the MCAS, were conducted, is astounding. The crisis made us discover how overconfident and arrogant Boeing his.

The problem

Despite all the knowledge and technology accumulated, flying remains a calculated risk in 2020. No matter how good and safe a technology is, nothing is 100% safe. Boeing undertook the MAX certification with the same arrogance as that of the builders of the Titanic: since the Titanic was made to be unsinkable, they tough it was useless to put enough lifeboats for everyone on board. In other words, when you are convinced that a technology cannot fail, you forget the most basic security measures.

The fate of the 346 victims of the 737MAX was decided many years before the tragedy. From the moment people at Boeing stopped being afraid that the 737MAX would crash the tragedies were predictable.

The solution

Safety culture must be thoroughly reviewed at Boeing and not just with a few statements. It is obvious that this company has moved away from its primary mission which is to manufacture quality aircraft. The move of Boeing corporate from Seattle to Chicago was a major mistake. Its purpose was precisely to isolate senior management from daily operations. Returning to Seattle is the first step that Boeing management must take to refocus on its primary mission.

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