Boeing chief apologises to crash victims families

Boeing chief Dave Calhoun issued a public apology to the families of victims of two crashes as he was quizzed by US senators during an appearance in Washington.  

He admitted that the culture at company was “far from perfect” amid ongoing safety concerns. 

Colhoun addressed Congress in the wake of a panel falling off an Alaska Airlines B737 Max 9 in January and crashes involving two Max aircraft in Asia and Africa which killed a total of 346 people in October 2018 and six months later.

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In a written testimony, Calhoun, who is to step down at the end of the year after being appointed chief executive in 2020, said: “I would like to speak directly to those who lost loved ones on Lion Air Flight 610 and Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302. 

“I want to personally apologise, on behalf of everyone at Boeing. We are deeply sorry for your losses. 

“Nothing is more important than the safety of the people who step on board our airplanes. Every day we seek to honour the memory of those lost through a steadfast commitment to safety and quality.”

However, Senate sub-committee chair Richard Blumenthal demanded to know what Boeing was doing “to end this broken safety culture”.

Calhoun said: “We deeply regret the impact that the Alaska Airlines Flight 1282 accident had on Alaska Airlines’ team and its passengers, and we are grateful to the pilots and crew for safely landing the plane. We are thankful that there were no fatalities.

“In our factories and in our supply chain, we took immediate action to ensure the specific circumstances that led to this accident would not happen again. Importantly, we went beyond to look comprehensively at our quality and manufacturing systems.”

He added: “Much has been said about Boeing’s culture. We’ve heard those concerns loud and clear. 

“Our culture is far from perfect, but we are taking action and making progress. We understand the gravity, and we are committed to moving forward with transparency and accountability, while elevating employee engagement.

“We are committed to making sure every employee feels empowered to speak up if there is a problem. We also have strict policies in place to prohibit retaliation against employees who come forward. It is our job to listen, regardless of how we obtain feedback, and handle it with the seriousness it deserves.”

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