U.S. Lawmakers To Probe Boeing Production Issues

MAXs at renton
Credit: David Ryder / Getty Images

WASHINGTON—U.S. House transportation committee leaders plan to dig into production-quality issues that have held up deliveries of Boeing 787s and 737 MAXs and have grounded part of the 737 MAX fleet. 

Peter DeFazio (D-Oregon), chair of the Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure, and Rick Larsen (D-Washington), chair of the subcommittee on aviation, have asked Boeing and the FAA for production records “regarding continued issues with the manufacture and production of Boeing commercial aircraft,” the lawmakers said May 18. The lawmakers also provided a list of questions they want answered. 

The request comes on the heels of a two-year probe into the 737 MAX and FAA certification following two fatal 737 MAX accidents.  

“Our investigation into the Boeing 737 MAX—which led to our final report released last fall—revealed multiple troubling details about the decisions made regarding the design, development, and certification of the airplane that played key roles in two deadly crashes,” DeFazio said. “[I]n light of these new and ongoing issues that point to problems in maintaining quality control and appropriate FAA oversight of production issues, I will thoroughly and deliberatively investigate any issues, such as those affecting the 737 MAX and the 787, that may endanger public safety.” 

Boeing halted 787 deliveries in October 2020 to inspect aircraft for production-related defects linked to fuselage skins that did not meet design specifications. The delivery pause lasted five months

In early April, Boeing revealed potential electrical system issues on 737 MAXs produced since early 2019. The issue led Boeing to recommend grounding affected aircraft—about 105 in the global fleet. The FAA recently approved Boeing’s proposed fixes and regulators are requiring they be done before affected aircraft return to service. 

Boeing, which halted 737 MAX deliveries when the issue came to light, also must modify more than 350 affected aircraft in its undelivered inventory.  

Sean Broderick

Senior Air Transport & Safety Editor Sean Broderick covers aviation safety, MRO, and the airline business from Aviation Week Network's Washington, D.C. office.


Boeing is not the only Mega Company with problems. There are others, but they are not in the limelight like Boeing.
A mega company like Boeing must be difficult to manage. To satisfy investors, owners, top management is guided and must rely on, consultants, advisers, lawyers, etc. Thus, management decisions are influenced by outsiders, not input from inside the organization. Mega companies like Boeing should be broken up to the original smaller companies. In these smaller companies’ management can and will be more involved in managing and guiding to company with information and solutions coming from the people who are involved with the production, rather than outsiders misguided advice.
One does not have to look far, the success of Space X’s is based on relying on employee input in solving problems, asking for suggestions on how to make their product better.
Further arguments’ can be made against mergers commercial entities, particularly of already large companies that create monopolies.
In the US the prior success capitalism was based on competition. Unfortunately, we are moving away from that, just look at the spending deficit of the US at the end of 2019.
Amen. The companies are run by lawyers and accountants. They are motivated to get the maximum remuneration, shares to sell at a profit etc. They are motivated to get the short-term profits. Fate of the company ten years after is apparently an issue not worth extra attention. That is one of the differences between the Western approach to capitalismus of today and the e.g. the Chinese one - they plan for many decades, are hard-working and focused on the long range goals. If we do not change, then we can whine to the heart's content...
Its well past time that Boeing get scrutinized closely as well as the FAA.

These problems go back a long long time, certainly to the 737 Rudder failures that Boeing tried to blow off and the FAA did nothing on.

And it has nothing to do with running a Mega company. When your structure is to pay execs regardless of performance , golden parachutes when they leave a wreck behind (or wrecks) and you pay in shares.

Make these practice illegal (add in share buy back) and much of this goes away.

No business can pander like that and do well and Boeing has shown it in spades.

A business is a balance of shareholders return, the company and its employees and management not one over the other at any cost.