Helena Lyng Blak
6 weeks ago

Boeing Stock Dives Amid Whistleblower Claims of Safety Issues

The whistleblower claims are the most recent issues in a troubled year for the airplane manufacturer.
Dec 12th 2023: An Alaska Airlines Boeing 737 MAX 9 waits at the gate ahead of a flight to Seattle
Dec 12th 2023: An Alaska Airlines Boeing 737 MAX 9 waits at the gate ahead of a flight to Seattle. Photo: Coby Wayne / Shutterstock.com

In interviews with The New York Times and in documents to The Federal Aviation Administration, a new whistleblower has emerged with claims of inadequate safety measures and quality assurance in the manufacturing of Boeing aircraft.

According to whistleblower, Boeing engineer Sam Salehpour, sections of the Boeing 787 Dreamliner’s fuselage (its ‘exoskeleton’, one might say) are not properly secured. Although not an immediate issue, this could potentially cause the fuselage to fall apart mid-flight after several thousand trips. For reference, an average Boeing 747 reportedly goes through about 35,000 pressurization cycles and flights before retiring.

Boeing denied the claims, saying in a statement, “We are fully confident in the 787 Dreamliner because of the comprehensive work done to ensure the quality and long-term safety of the aircraft. These claims about the structural integrity of the 787 are inaccurate.”

Salehpour’s accusations contribute to the ongoing troubles Boeing has faced since the year began.

A Company in Crisis

Boeing’s year was off to a bad start when, on January 5th, a panel on a Boeing 737 Max 9 jet, operated by Alaska Airlines, blew out midair, signifying safety concerns.

Then, in early March, a significant "technical event" occurred on a flight from Australia to New Zealand aboard a Boeing 787 Dreamliner, resulting in injuries to around 50 passengers. 

Also in early March, The New York Times revealed that the FAA conducted extensive product audits, finding that Boeing failed 33 out of 89 audits, with 97 instances of alleged noncompliance. These findings further damage Boeing's reputation, indicating systemic issues with compliance and safety standards.

Multiple Emergency Landings

Adding to these concerns, multiple Boeing aircraft have, since then, been forced to make emergency landings due to technical and mechanical issues.

In a less dramatic incident on Tuesday, April 9, an Air Canada Boeing 737 made an emergency landing after a faulty cargo hold indicator led to pilots receiving a warning light in the flight deck.

A couple of days earlier, however, on April 7 a Southwest Airlines flight was forced to make an emergency landing after the engine cover of the Boeing 757-800 aircraft detached during takeoff.

Leadership Overhaul

The sustained inflow of issues and controversies led to significant changes to Boeing’s leadership.

In late March, President and CEO Dave Calhoun announced his intent to step down at the end of 2024.

Furthermore, Board Chair Larry Kellner informed the board he would not be standing for re-election at the next annual board meeting, and Boeing Commercial President and CEO Stan Deal will also retire from the company.   

Sliding Shares

Boeing closed 1.89% down yesterday, April 9, following the recent whistleblower allegations.

The company’s shares have slid 29.25% year to date, and have decreased by 15.49% since the same time last year.

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