The Spark

the Voice of
The Communist League of Revolutionary Workers–Internationalist

“The emancipation of the working class will only be achieved by the working class itself.”
— Karl Marx

Boeing Rewards Deadly Mistakes

Jan 20, 2020

Indonesia’s Lion Air considered putting its pilots through simulator training before flying the Boeing Co. 737 Max, according to Bloomberg News. But, Boeing convinced Lion Air in 2017 that this training was unnecessary. The next year, 189 people died when a Lion Air 737 Max plunged into the Java Sea because a new flight-control feature on the plane malfunctioned and untrained pilots did not know how to handle the malfunctioning system.

It turns out that while Lion Air was asking for the much needed training, Boeing management was callously mocking them. “Now friggin Lion Air might need a sim to fly the MAX, and maybe because of their own stupidity. I’m scrambling trying to figure out how to unscrew this now! idiots,” one Boeing employee wrote in text messages released by the House committee investigating the case. In response, another Boeing colleague replied: “WHAT THE F%$&!!!! But their sister airline is already flying it!,” referring to Malindo Air, the Malaysian-based carrier.

The only apparent reason for Boeing to block such training was that it was going to cost Boeing money and reduce its profits.

Because of these deadly accidents, Boeing asked the top managers to leave the company, only to save face and put the blame on these managers. But, at the same time, Boeing handsomely rewarded them. Boeing will pay its former Chief Executive Officer Dennis Muilenburg awards and stock options, along with his pension and deferred pay, totaling as much as 80.7 million dollars. Boeing also disclosed that Kevin McAllister, who led the firm’s commercial airplanes division until he left, did receive 14.8 million dollars.

By contrast, Boeing set aside only 50 million dollars to compensate the families of crash victims.