737 Max Updates and Cancellations


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Challenges continue in wake of Max 8 groundings

 

  • Calgary Herald
  • 4 Jan 2020
  • AMANDA STEPHENSON astephenson@postmedia.com Twitter.com/amandamsteph
img?regionKey=%2fOQbOwEeiwZm4liVPQactQ%3d%3dMIKE DREW/FILES Westjet CEO Ed Sims says that in the wake of the Max 8 groundings, “No one anticipated at the start of the year that we would be grounding not just seven per cent of our fleet, but actually 13 of our best aircraft.”

Ten months into the grounding of Boeing’s Max 8 aircraft, Westjet CEO Ed Sims says he is “incredibly proud” that the Calgary-based airline was able to avoid layoffs in 2019.

Job cuts could have been a real possibility, Sims said, as a result of the lost revenue and “unavoidable cost increase” caused by the loss of the aircraft, which has been subject to a global no-fly order since March as a result of two fatal crashes involving other airlines. The disruption has forced Westjet — which owns 13 of the planes — to adjust its schedule, suspend routes and operate fuller flights.

While Westjet has successfully maintained 95 per cent of its scheduled departures since March, the shortage of aircraft has meant the airline has little flexibility in cases of weather delays or unexpected maintenance. In addition, the Max was the airline’s most fuel efficient aircraft.

“No one anticipated at the start of the year that we would be grounding not just seven per cent of our fleet, but actually 13 of our best aircraft,” Sims said in a recent interview. “I’m actually incredibly proud that we’ve got to the end of the year and we haven’t laid people off.”

Westjet has about 14,000 employees across Canada. With 2,000 people working at its corporate headquarters in Calgary’s northeast alone, the company is one of the city’s largest private sector employers. It has also embarked on a major international expansion plan, with the addition of its Boeing Dreamliner program.

But Westjet has been challenged in recent years by the ongoing economic downturn in its home province of Alberta, labour challenges, and competitive pressure from all corners. The added setback of the Boeing grounding makes the fact that Westjet was able to post the second-highest third quarter profit in its history in 2019 significant — especially given the disappointing and unusual quarterly loss the airline reported a little over a year earlier.

Just because it appears to be weathering the headwinds it faces, however, doesn’t mean the Boeing issue isn’t still top of mind at Westjet in the new year.

The airline has removed the aircraft from its schedule until Feb. 4 and while Sims said he is optimistic that global regulators are getting close to approving the plane and its software for flight, the situation has already dragged on far longer than anticipated. If the grounding lasts longer than a year, costing Westjet spring break and Easter travel revenue, that will be a real problem.

“I’m not going to rail against Boeing publicly any more than I have already voiced my frustration, because that’s not going to change the situation,” Sims said. “But yes, I am frustrated.”

The airline’s challenges won’t end the day the Max 8 is given the all-clear by regulators, either. While there have been other global aircraft groundings related to safety concerns in the past — including the Boeing 787 Dreamliner, which was grounded for several months in 2013 over concerns about lithium ion battery failures — Sims said the Max 8 grounding is the first one to take place amid the heightened “speculation and conjecture” of the social media era. It’s not at all clear that passengers are going to re-embrace the aircraft, even after officials rule it is safe.

In fact, extensive polling conducted by Westjet indicates that a majority of the airline’s customers have “some, or very deep” concern about getting on a Max 8 aircraft in the future.

That means that the airline’s successful navigation of the grounding thus far is no guarantee of the future.

“When you post a quarter like we did, the understandable reaction from Boeing and others is ‘you’ve weathered the storm. The business is in good shape,’” Sims said. “And I’ve said consistently to Boeing, other than resolving the regulators’ safety concerns, my biggest worry is what happens in the next six months when we reintroduce these aircraft.”

To help reassure customers of the Max 8’s safety, Sims said Westjet will do a test flight of each of the 13 aircraft after they obtain regulatory clearance and pilots are trained on the new software system. Sims himself has also pledged to be on the first flight.

In addition, Sims said he is hopeful that Transport Canada will communicate closely with the federal Minister of Labour, to ensure the unions representing Westjet’s employees also have complete confidence in the Max 8.

“That assurance can’t just come from me; it will come from our head of engineering, it will come from our chief pilot,” Sims said. “All of our pilots, all of our cabin crew, will be proving their confidence in the operation by their readiness to fly.”

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Who cares how Southwest  feels.  They got what they demanded,  they get what they deserve. 

14,000 Words Of "Blame The Pilots" That Whitewash Boeing Of 737 MAX Failure The New York Times Magazine just published a 14,000 words piece about the Boeing 737 MAX accidents. It is headlined:

On a humourous note, maybe Boeing just wants to be more.....'environmentally friendly'???  

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Boeing, FAA reviewing wiring issue that could cause short circuit on 737 Max

PUBLISHED SUN, JAN 5 20208:01 PM EST
Reuters
 
 
 
 
KEY POINTS
  • The New York Times reported Boeing is reviewing whether two bundles of wiring are too close together, which could lead to a short circuit and potentially result in a crash if pilots did not respond appropriately.
  • The FAA said in a statement Sunday the agency and company “are analyzing certain findings from a recent review of the proposed modifications to the Boeing 737 MAX.”
  • Boeing is currently working to design separating the wiring bundles if necessary and conducting extensive analysis to establish if the electrical fault could occur in a real-world scenario, a company official said.
 

GP: Grounding Of Boeing 737 MAX Planes Extended As New Flaw In Software Is Found 1

Boeing 737 MAX airplanes are stored on employee parking lots near Boeing Field, on June 27, 2019 in Seattle, Washington. After a pair of crashes, the 737 MAX has been grounded by the FAA and other aviation agencies since March, 13, 2019.
Stephen Brashear | Getty Images

Boeing and the Federal Aviation Administration confirmed on Sunday they are reviewing a wiring issue that could potentially cause a short circuit on the grounded 737 Max.

Boeing spokesman Gordon Johndroe said Sunday the U.S. planemaker “identified this issue as part of that rigorous process, and we are working with the FAA to perform the appropriate analysis. It would be premature to speculate as to whether this analysis will lead to any design changes.”

 

The New York Times reported Boeing is reviewing whether two bundles of wiring are too close together, which could lead to a short circuit and potentially result in a crash if pilots did not respond appropriately.

The FAA said in a statement Sunday the agency and company “are analyzing certain findings from a recent review of the proposed modifications to the Boeing 737 MAX.” The agency added it will “ensure that all safety related issues identified during this process are addressed.”

Boeing is currently working to design separating the wiring bundles if necessary and conducting extensive analysis to establish if the electrical fault could occur in a real-world scenario, a company official said.

Officials said the FAA had directed Boeing to complete an audit in December. The wiring issue could push back the return of the Max, the officials added. Reuters has reported previously the FAA is not likely to approve the plane until at least February and might not until March or later.

The FAA flagged the wiring issue as potentially “catastrophic.” It is possible other protections like shielding, insulation and circuit breakers could prevent the short circuit, a company official said.

 

Boeing will halt production of the 737 Max this month following the grounding in March of its best-selling plane after two fatal crashes in five months killed 346 people.

Last month, Boeing’s board fired Chief Executive Dennis Muilenburg after repeatedly failing to contain the fallout from the crashes that tarnished its reputation with airlines and regulators.

The crisis has cost Boeing $9 billion, and has hurt suppliers and airlines.

Boeing is struggling to mend relations with the U.S. and international regulators it needs to win over to get the jet back in the air.

Separately, U.S. and European regulators are expected to return to Iowa this week to review a software documentation audit of the 737 Max that was not completed last year, officials said Sunday. FAA and the European Union Aviation Safety Agency are scheduled to meet in Seattle this week and then return to Rockwell Collins facility in Cedar Rapids, Iowa next weekend to review the audit.

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13 hours ago, conehead said:

It just never ends...

Yes, it seems that way doesn't it, conehead? 

But it's canonical for all organizations: For better or worse, sooner or later no matter what the organization, the government, the NGO, or "tribe", when the layers of the onion get peeled back, the principles and primary focus, that core being built by those in charge of an organization or a government or..., is eventually laid bare.

Déjà vu - Boeing 737 Max accidents worthy of a deep probe

https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/déjà-vu-boeing-737-max-accidents-worthy-deep-probe-bryce-fisher

Published on March 27, 2019

Bryce Fisher

For those of us of a certain age, the picture above is a grim reminder of what can go wrong with risky technologies. In 1986, the space shuttle Challenger disintegrated 73 seconds after liftoff killing all seven on board.

Why I am bringing up the Challenger disaster up in relation to the Boeing 737 Max accidents? 

A first blush, the recent Boeing 737 Max accidents seem to have the potential for similar historical significance. Like the space shuttle Challenger accident, emerging information about the design, manufacture, certification and operation of the Boeing 737 Max suggests a deep probe is necessary. 

While some may dismiss the Challenger disaster as an aerospace rather than aviation accident, it may be instructive to refresh our collective memories of the lessons learned from it. 

The immediate suspect in both the Challenger and Max disasters is technological. In the case of the former it is the O-rings and, in the latter, the Maneuvering Augmentation System (MCAS).

Also, organizations are involved: NASA and Boeing respectively. While proven at NASA, we will likely learn that economic and production pressures at Boeing contributed to managerial short-circuiting of safety processes, or that management either did not fully understand the scientific or technical safety issues, or, if it did, it discounted or dismissed them. 

In the case of the Max, there is the role of the regulator. As the authority responsible for the safety certification of the B737 Max series, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) of the United States is involved in the causal story. As of this writing, the Inspector General of the United States Department of Transport will examine what role the FAA played. Surely, the apparent conflict of the FAA’s dual mandate to promote the civil aviation industry and regulate it on behalf of the public will be raised once again. As an aside, the FBI is now involved, therefore, criminal acts and/or malfeasance is in now scope. 

Like NASA, the Boeing and FAA “brands” have suffered severely. The public’s faith in them to manage safety on their behalf has been shaken to its core. Only after all the investigations have been completed and credible and observable changes made will Boeing and the FAA be able to restore their reputations and the public’s trust. 

Finally, unlike the Challenger where a Presidential Commission (Rogers Commission) was convened, no decision has been made to hold one for the B737 Max, though calls for one have already been voiced. 

As the title of this article suggests, we have seen the B737 Max story unfold before in the space shuttle Challenger accident. It should follow to ask whether the lessons learned have been wasted or not. 

The Rogers Commission made nine sets of recommendations. These ranged in scope from broad to narrow, from addressing larger managerial to more specific technical issues. NASA developed a corrective action plan to address each set of recommendations. These, it seems, did not have the desired effect. 

Seventeen years later, the space shuttle Columbia disintegrated upon re-entry killing all seven crew members on board. The Columbia Accident Investigation Board (CAIB) examined NASA’s safety management practices and said: “…the causes of the institutional failure responsible for Challenger have not been fixed.” 

In piecing together the information emerging from the Lion Air and Ethiopian Airlines accident investigations and news reports, I am reminded of Diane Vaughan’s ethnographic study of the launch decision of the space shuttle Challenger. In The Challenger Launch Decision – Risky Technology, Culture, and Deviance at NASA, Professor Vaughan suggests her study shows “how mistake, mishap, and disaster are socially organized and systematically produced by social structures…The cause of the disaster was a mistake embedded in the banality of organizational life and facilitated by an environment of scarcity and competition, elite bargaining, uncertain technology, incrementalism, patterns of information, routinization, organizational and interorganizational structures in a complex culture.”  

In September of this year, the International Society of Air Safety Investigators (ISASI) will be holding its annual conference in The Hague. The theme of this year’s offering asks: “Future safety: Has the past become irrelevant?” 

On this, I will defer to Professor Ms. Vaughan: “No one has forgotten the astronauts, the incident, or the shape of those billowing clouds that recorded the final seconds of the Challenger’s flight. Nonetheless, the loss of the Challenger, has receded into history, as the unfolding present, urgently demanding attention, replaces the past.” 

I think ISASI has its answer. 

Bryce Fisher

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WestJet delays 737 Max return for another month, affecting about 500 flights

me-short.png?w=68&h=68&crop=1
BY MELISSA GILLIGAN THE CANADIAN PRESS
Posted January 6, 2020 12:12 pm
Updated January 6, 2020 12:15 pm

 Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Administrator Stephen Dickson spoke to a House transportation panel this week about the condition of the Boeing 737 Max, suggesting the aircraft won’t be able to fly until 2020.

WestJet Airlines Ltd. says it has scrubbed Boeing‘s grounded 737 Max jet from flight schedules through April 4.

The move marks the ninth delay to the plane’s return after regulatory authorities across the globe banned the Max from the skies last March following two fatal crashes in five months.

WestJet says the adjustment impacts about 500 more flights on routes that include Toronto-Vancouver and Calgary-Ottawa, with the airline now notifying passengers of rebooking options.

WestJet says it is completing more than 97 per cent of planned departures, despite the reduced capacity and higher fuel and leasing costs brought on by the grounding.

 

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You can debate this till the cows come home but unless you start holding company executives personally accountable for safety and subject them to substantive or meaningful criminal/felony charges for catastrophic failures, human nature will inevitably end up subjugating safety for profit.  I don't see how it can be otherwise. 

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11 minutes ago, Specs said:

You can debate this till the cows come home but unless you start holding company executives personally accountable for safety and subject them to substantive or meaningful criminal/felony charges for catastrophic failures, human nature will inevitably end up subjugating safety for profit.  I don't see how it can be otherwise. 

You don't change safety behaviours by doling out punishment unless willful intent is clear. In most cases, you'll have much better success changing behaviours by changing the systems and cultures that create them.

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19 minutes ago, J.O. said:

You don't change safety behaviours by doling out punishment unless willful intent is clear. In most cases, you'll have much better success changing behaviours by changing the systems and cultures that create them.

But often the people in charge will off not have any sense what that culture is protecting and they will inevitably undermine it one way or another to meet their own goals.  This is the way our world works.

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2 hours ago, Specs said:

But often the people in charge will off not have any sense what that culture is protecting and they will inevitably undermine it one way or another to meet their own goals.  This is the way our world works.

Given that this situation has cost Boeing $5 billion (and counting) and several people have been fired, I'm not sure what more of a lesson they'd need to change their behaviour. The industry and the travelling public aren't stupid. If Boeing doesn't change their ways, they both will give Boeing their final lesson by taking their business elsewhere. This is also the way the world works.

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48 minutes ago, J.O. said:

Given that this situation has cost Boeing $5 billion (and counting) and several people have been fired, I'm not sure what more of a lesson they'd need to change their behaviour. The industry and the travelling public aren't stupid. If Boeing doesn't change their ways, they both will give Boeing their final lesson by taking their business elsewhere. This is also the way the world works.

Along with all of their employees, their suppliers and those who work for them. No way the US will allow that to happen.

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American Airlines reaches deal with Boeing over 737 Max grounding, will share $30 million with employees

PUBLISHED MON, JAN 6 20204:30 PM ESTUPDATED 31 MIN AGO
KEY POINTS
  • American Airlines reached an agreement over lost revenue from the 737 Max in 2019.
  • More payments could be on the way because it isn’t clear when the FAA will lift the flight ban.
  • The planes have been grounded worldwide since mid-March after two crashes within five months of one another.
 

GP: Boeing Co. 737 MAX Planes As Oversight Drew Rebuke Of FAA Unions In 2017 1

Maintenance workers cover the engine of an American Airlines Group Inc. Boeing Co. 737 Max plane outside of a maintenance hangar at Tulsa International Airport (TUL) in Tulsa, Oklahoma, U.S., on Tuesday, May 14, 2019.
Patrick T. Fallon | Bloomberg | Getty Images

American Airlines said Monday that it reached an agreement with Boeing to reimburse the airline for financial damages incurred last year from the grounding of the 737 Max, which is now in its 10th month.

Airlines have lost more than $1 billion in revenue because of the grounding after two fatal crashes. Boeing and Southwest Airlines ⁠— the largest U.S. operator of the 737 Max ⁠— disclosed they had reached an agreement last month.

 

American didn’t disclose the terms of the agreement, but as CNBC reported last week, it plans to share a portion of the compensation with employees. American said the compensation would add $30 million to an employee profit-sharing program, payable in March. Southwest had taken a similar step, saying it would share $125 million with its workers.

106323168-1578345437138gettyimages-1189075430.jpeg?v=1578345469&w=750&h=422
 
 
WATCH NOW
VIDEO02:43
Sheila Kahyaoglu: Boeing could raise its debt to $30B
 

American’s pilots deserve more compensation, their labor union, the Allied Pilots Association said. Dennis Tajer, a Boeing 737 captain and spokesman for the union, called the profit sharing increase a “good start” but not enough because pilots lost out on income, not just profit sharing. He added that the airlines some 4,000 Boeing 737 pilots can’t simply start flying an Airbus plane.

American flies older 737s but has had to curb its growth for the year because of the Max grounding.

Boeing took a nearly $5 billion after-tax charge in the second quarter of last year to compensate airlines for the grounding of the 737 Max but costs continue to grow as federal regulators have repeatedly said they have no firm timeline to allow the jetliners to fly again.

American in October forecast the Max grounding would cost it $540 million in pretax income in 2019. The full financial toll on airlines isn’t yet known because it’s not clear when the planes will fly again. American and Southwest removed the planes from their schedules until April, while United pulled them until early June.

 

There were close to 400 of the planes in operation at the time of the grounding last March, and airlines haven’t received the additional planes they were expecting, causing the financial impact to snowball. American, for example, had 24 planes at the time of the grounding but expected to have 40 by the end of 2019.

Regulators worldwide grounded the jets after an Ethiopian Airlines 737 Max crashed less than five months after a nearly new 737 Max in Indonesia went down, killing all 346 people on the two flights.

Boeing had cut production of the planes by 20% after the crashes but continued producing them at the slower pace. The company, however, plans to suspend production this month as the grounding, which cost former CEO Dennis Muilenburg his job just before Christmas, wears on longer than the company had signaled.

Several other 737 Max customers, including Icelandair, Turkish Airlines and Southwest Airlines, have recently reached agreements with the manufacturer, but other carriers are still in discussions with Boei

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The lesson is an old one - "normalizing deviance" for the purposes of short-term, quarterly-report thinking.

1 hour ago, Marshall said:

No way the US will allow that to happen.

I regret that I don't agree. As Dylan wrote, money doesn't talk, it swears.

It  has already happened because lessons like this in the past have not been put into practise, as illustrated in the article on the Challenger accident above.

This is the way American business practices work and there does not appear a disaster yet that gives them pause much longer than the daily news cycle. This one has staying power but in the face of power and wealth, not teaching power.

Given stuff that has already happened like the Deep Water Horizon accident, Challenger and Columbia, the DC10 just by itself, the Opiod crisis promulgated by the healthcare industry including pharmaceuticals, etc., things have not changed. Given the possible profits and the best national & state governments money can buy, even a change in the Australian weather is dismissed as a temporarily hot day.

Let's look at the learning opportunities. The following isn't hindsight bias: - a lot of people knew about these problems at Boeing as long ago as 2012 for the MAX and earlier for the B787 battery problem. They voiced concerns over the compromises within Boeing and the FAA a long time before these two disastrous and deadly "interventions" from their MAX design. Both Boeing and the FAA hid stuff and were dishonest with their technical people and the pilots who would fly their new aircraft. The CEO clearly lived in a different business ecology, the one being described here, and couldn't see what was actually wrong and no one could break through the thinking because it would be too expensive to stop production and re-assess the airplane.

In discussions about this corporate disaster, I have heard comments from people who do design & engineering or who did this work at one time, and who led design teams, all at another manufacturer; - they quietly expressed the notion that they're glad they didn't or don't work in the American business environment with it's production pressures and growing scent of corruption between government agencies and corporate interests. They also observed that Boeing has seriously harmed the industry in terms of loss of trust and integrity, emphasizing that they derive no joy whatsoever in their competitor's troubles; the problems are far too serious to do so.

To J.O.'s well-taken point, if we think about it, it's actually profitable and even fair to the shareholders to not cheat, not cut corners, to welcome healthy, informed dissent and to not ignore as inconvenient the valuable input from employees who really do know their stuff*, and cultivating too close a relationship with the regulator for the purpose of saving nickels and maintaining share prices.

Long term profit is created simply by doing things right and holding oneself to account long before an accident or before the FBI, Congress and the flying public come into the picture to hold the entire lot to account.

This will likely cost Boeing an unplanned-for $10B or more before the MAX is flying again and the shareholders have lost over 20% so far.

Despite all the "reminders" and input made out of a sincere loyalty to their employer and their customers by employees and FAA staff alike, Boeing and the FAA forgot who they were, who they really worked for and what they did for a living. It seems so trite these days to say it, but they did so because they could, with impunity.

* Turbulence: Boeing and the State of American Workers and Managers, Greenberg, Grunberg, Moore, Sikora

 

Edited by Don Hudson
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56 minutes ago, Don Hudson said:

The lesson is an old one - "normalizing deviance" for the purposes of short-term, quarterly-report thinking.

I regret that I don't agree. As Dylan wrote, money doesn't talk, it swears.

It  has already happened because lessons like this in the past have not been put into practise, as illustrated in the article on the Challenger accident above.

This is the way American business practices work and there does not appear a disaster yet that gives them pause much longer than the daily news cycle. This one has staying power but in the face of power and wealth, not teaching power.

Given stuff that has already happened like the Deep Water Horizon accident, Challenger and Columbia, the DC10 just by itself, the Opiod crisis promulgated by the healthcare industry including pharmaceuticals, etc., things have not changed. Given the possible profits and the best national & state governments money can buy, even a change in the Australian weather is dismissed as a temporarily hot day.

Let's look at the learning opportunities. The following isn't hindsight bias: - a lot of people knew about these problems at Boeing as long ago as 2012 for the MAX and earlier for the B787 battery problem. They voiced concerns over the compromises within Boeing and the FAA a long time before these two disastrous and deadly "interventions" from their MAX design. Both Boeing and the FAA hid stuff and were dishonest with their technical people and the pilots who would fly their new aircraft. The CEO clearly lived in a different business ecology, the one being described here, and couldn't see what was actually wrong and no one could break through the thinking because it would be too expensive to stop production and re-assess the airplane.

In discussions about this corporate disaster, I have heard comments from people who do design & engineering or who did this work at one time, and who led design teams, all at another manufacturer; - they quietly expressed the notion that they're glad they didn't or don't work in the American business environment with it's production pressures and growing scent of corruption between government agencies and corporate interests. They also observed that Boeing has seriously harmed the industry in terms of loss of trust and integrity, emphasizing that they derive no joy whatsoever in their competitor's troubles; the problems are far too serious to do so.

To J.O.'s well-taken point, if we think about it, it's actually profitable and even fair to the shareholders to not cheat, not cut corners, to welcome healthy, informed dissent and to not ignore as inconvenient the valuable input from employees who really do know their stuff*, and cultivating too close a relationship with the regulator for the purpose of saving nickels and maintaining share prices.

Long term profit is created simply by doing things right and holding oneself to account long before an accident or before the FBI, Congress and the flying public come into the picture to hold the entire lot to account.

This will likely cost Boeing an unplanned-for $10B or more before the MAX is flying again and the shareholders have lost over 20% so far.

Despite all the "reminders" and input made out of a sincere loyalty to their employer and their customers by employees and FAA staff alike, Boeing and the FAA forgot who they were, who they really worked for and what they did for a living. It seems so trite these days to say it, but they did so because they could, with impunity.

* Turbulence: Boeing and the State of American Workers and Managers, Greenberg, Grunberg, Moore, Sikora

 

Don< Here is my entire reply to a previous post,

Quote

Given that this situation has cost Boeing $5 billion (and counting) and several people have been fired, I'm not sure what more of a lesson they'd need to change their behaviour. The industry and the travelling public aren't stupid. If Boeing doesn't change their ways, they both will give Boeing their final lesson by taking their business elsewhere. This is also the way the world works.

Along with all of their employees, their suppliers and those who work for them. No way the US will allow that to happen.

 

I still think that the US will not allow Boeing to tank. Unless of course it is the end of "Boeing Commercial" and Boeing "Military / Defense / Aerospace" continues on.

 

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Boeing reassigns thousands of 737 Max workers while supplier Spirit mulls layoffs as grounding continues

PUBLISHED MON, JAN 6 20208:34 PM ESTUPDATED 29 MIN AGO
KEY POINTS
  • Boeing is reassigning workers to other aircraft programs like the 777X as it shuts down Max production.
  • Spirit Aerosystems, which makes fuselages for the Max, is considering laying off workers.
  • Regulators have repeatedly said they have no firm timeline to lift the ban on the Max planes.
 

boeing 737 max unfinished

A worker inspects a Boeing 737 MAX aircraft at Boeing’s Renton Factory on October 20, 2019 in Renton, Washington.
Photo by Gary He/Getty Images

Boeing told employees Monday that it will reassign about 3,000 workers who produce the 737 Max in the Seattle area, while a major supplier for the beleaguered jets said it is considering voluntary layoffs to cut costs as the grounding wears on longer than expected.

Boeing last month said it would shut down production of the planes in the middle of January, a drastic step as regulators reiterate they have no timeline to lift the flight ban on the planes, which they issued after two crashes in a span of five months killed 346 people.

 

Once the last plane currently in production is complete, Boeing told employees “no further [737 Max] airplanes will be produced until the suspension is lifted.” Some workers will be moved to other programs like the 767 or 777X lines, while others will be assigned to storage facilities in Moses Lake, Wash. and a new site in Victorville, Calif.

 

“Hundreds of our colleagues from Everett came down to Renton in 2018 to help us during our production challenges. This gives the 737 team a chance to return the favor,” Mark Jenks, vice president and general manager of the 737 program said  in the note to employees, referring to a period when Boeing couldn’t keep up with demand for the planes, its best-selling aircraft.

Spirit Aerosystems, which makes fuselages for the planes said it was considering voluntary layoffs and other measures to cut costs during the grounding, one of the most severe measures yet as the grounding hurts Boeing’s vast 737 Max supply chain.

It isn’t clear when regulators will approve the planes. Boeing has updated flight-control software that was implicated in both crashes but other concerns have emerged, such as how pilots can quickly react to malfunctions and subsequent alerts.

Boeing and the FAA said Sunday that they are evaluating whether wiring bundles on the 737 Max are too close together and pose a safety risk, a potential issue that was flagged in an internal Boeing audit, though the company said it was too early to tell whether design changes were needed.

 

Boeing said it would use the down time to improve quality at the Renton plant. The FAA last month said it was investigating production there after a former employee raised concerns about the impact on quality and workers due to the breakneck production pace.

“No decision has been made on when 737 production will restart due to the uncertainty about the timing and conditions of return-to-service and global-training approvals,” Boeing told workers. “Once there is a decision, loaned employees will start returning to their regular assignments in a phased approach.”

106307271-848lebeauboeingcancellations.jpg?v=1576850063&w=750&h=422
 
 
 
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Hi Marshall;

Thanks for the correction/addition - I should have quoted your full post - my apologies, and also, I may have misunderstood your point?

What I'm attempting to point to (and not very clearly at times, much to my frustration), using a couple of suitable resources, is the changing character of American business practices as it affects those who do the work and making a connection between such changes and the reasons Boeing finds itself in deep difficulties today.

The circumstances that resulted in two preventable, fatal, common-cause accidents have their seeds in the early '90's at Boeing.

Boeing employees have clearly shown in studies*, beginning in 1996 and which I believe are continuing, that they wanted to be part of a solution to the problems they saw with their company but were rebuffed by a successive CEOs and Boards. As FOIA documents show, during this same period, this was also occurring at the FAA.

What Boeing has revealed for all to see and for all to come to terms with is the dishonesty that justifies and protects the shift from engineering & testing to a "faster-better-cheaper" model of production. Edit to add: This kind of statement does need a nuanced approach because "faster, better, cheaper" isn't necessarily worse. In fact the books by Greenberg etc., emphasize that both Airbus and Boeing copied one another's manufacturing and management approaches. It would be naive to expect and say that Airbus did not have many of the same challenges. Airbus was not without its problems in listening and its own scent of arrogance during the introduction of the A320. I know this aspect because I experienced it. And there were the "what's it doing now?" moments and "automation" accidents. The FAA voiced the view that there would be more B737 MAX accidents over the years; Why? It could be fairly asked,  What would Boeing be today without the second MAX accident? This is why I think this issue needs the kind of examination that Vaughan brought to the Challenger accident.  

Whether Boeing survives or not is independant of these underlying forces which were always and already at work more than twenty years ago. Whether Boeing survives or not depends upon whether the present and future leaders take the lesson they have been handed in the B787 and MAX troubles or lose it in the all-out fight to just survive. The reason I posted the Linked-in page above is to point directly to the problem with which Boeing must come to terms, or, like NASA repeating history with the loss of Columbia, "the MAX problem" will occur again.

*From Greenberg, Edward S.; Grunberg, Leon; Sarah Moore; Patricia B. Sikora. Turbulence (Kindle Locations 418-424). Yale University Press. Kindle Edition:
 

Quote

CHANGES AT BOEING DURING THE RESEARCH STUDY PERIOD
We launched our study in 1996 at a point when Boeing, which had been the dominant player for many years in the passenger airplane industry, was well into a process to cut costs and improve the quality of its products to meet market threats to its supremacy. Some have called this the “total quality” period, aimed as it was at incorporating many Japanese ideas for continuous improvement, lean production, and teaming. Our study also began when employment at the division was at its lowest level in many years and just after a bitter ninety-six day strike by the machinists’ union in 1995 over wages, benefits, and job security— issues that would continue to be front and center in future labor management negotiations.

Our first survey in 1997, then, was conducted at a time when Boeing was already in the throes of unsettling change— not the ideal baseline by which to assess the impact of the changes at Boeing. We were, as it were, jumping into the process of change after it had already begun rather than before, as would be required in a controlled experiment. Nevertheless, the period during which we conducted the first three of the four employee surveys (1997 to 2003) saw not only an acceleration and intensification of the changes begun before the start of our study, but also the powerful effects of the merger with McDonnell Douglas. In what we could call the short-term “shareholder value” period, nearly everything about Boeing seemed to change— corporate culture and identity, business strategy, governing ethos and ethics, and more. Our interviews and surveys in this period capture the intense, almost shell-shocked reactions of the workforce to an avalanche of organizational change.

. . . .

Of course, change didn’t end at the conclusion of our study. For example, at the end of 2009, the 787 finally took to the air to undergo a year of flight testing, roughly two years behind schedule. Boeing executives, partly in response to problems with suppliers that helped delay the 787 program, took over a key subcontractor, Vought Industries in South Carolina. In a powerful signal to the unionized workforce in the Puget Sound region, executives announced that a second assembly line for the 787 would be built in Charlotte, South Carolina, after the workforce there voted to decertify the machinists’ union. And as we write in early 2010, Boeing is whittling away at the very generous educational benefits its workforce previously enjoyed. Even though our study captures an organization in the midst of profound change, there are no signs that the pace or extent of change will slow significantly at Boeing or at other companies. Faced with the uncertainty and insecurity produced by such disruptive change, employees are likely to find that their coping and adaptive capacities will continue to be severely taxed, with significant consequences for their attachment to their companies and for their health and well-being.

. . . .

WHERE WE ARE GOING IN THE BOOK
We set the context for the book in chapter 2, describing why Boeing leaders believed they had to transform their company. We focus primarily on the cost revolution brought by airline deregulation, the competitive threat posed by the rise of Airbus, and the pressures to produce short-term returns in a capital market dominated by institutional investors. We show how the choices that Boeing leaders eventually made were shaped by best practices among other globally competitive firms; legal, cultural, and technical developments associated with globalization; and the growing commitment among many publicly traded companies to short-term shareholder value as a primary objective. We also show how Boeing revamped its entire system of planning, engineering, and production to maximize efficiencies.

Chapters 3– 8 describe how many Boeing employees who lived through these changes were bruised and battered by the experience. For the most part, those who survived that period— those, that is to say, who were not laid off or forced into early retirement, or who left of their own volition to pursue other opportunities— adapted to the changes, with some doing better than others, and some carrying the scars of their experiences. Their attitudes about Boeing and their jobs, as well as their physical and mental well-being— already somewhat negatively affected at the time of our first survey in 1997 following a bitter machinists’ strike in 1995 and the turn toward a hard-line shareholder value orientation immediately afterward— tracked dramatically downward in our 2000 and 2003 surveys, as workplace changes multiplied, outsourcing intensified, and Boeing fortunes dipped. Employee job attitudes and well-being had improved in a number of respects by the time of our last survey in 2006— though not to the degree that one might have expected— as engineering and process changes took effect and proved workable, company fortunes improved, and a new airplane program that excited employees was launched.

At the end of our study, Boeing’s long-term employees were more disenchanted than at the beginning; less involved in their jobs; more attuned to outside activities, families, and friends; less committed to their company; and deeply worried for themselves and their country about outsourcing. The end result might best be characterized as a tendency among Boeing employees working through the change process to feel more detached and resentful, as if they had fallen out of love with a longtime partner who had become indifferent to them. To be sure, Boeing employees reported they were impressed and satisfied by many of the changes they had experienced. Many reported they liked and appreciated the new energy of the company and its transformation from the “Lazy B” of the past. Many said they liked the more open and collaborative supervisory styles of their managers, the greater flexibility in scheduling their tasks and hours, better access to information that helped them perform their jobs more effectively, and more opportunities to collaborate on projects with people from other departments and with other skill sets.

. . .

Having said this, the problematic side of multiple, rapid, and continuous changes were much more pronounced. Layoff episodes and long-term downsizing tied to productivity improvements, outsourcing, and global partnering took their toll as people began to feel expendable, worried about being laid off in the future, and were forced to deal with a work environment where they were required to do more with less and where many of their close friends and collaborators were gone. More than a few employees said they were afraid that outsourcing and global partnering at Boeing and other companies would prove harmful to the country over the long haul as intellectual capital drifted to foreign firms, limiting opportunities for their own children and future generations of Americans as the nation’s industrial and engineering capacities were hollowed out.

Greenberg, Edward S.; Grunberg, Leon; Sarah Moore; Patricia B. Sikora. Turbulence (Kindle Locations 418-424). Yale University Press. Kindle Edition.

 

 

Edited by Don Hudson
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Anyone else beginning to wonder if the Max may never return to service?  What if a foreign aviation regulators, or even the FAA, starts asking itself questions like “ Do we really want to approve this aircraft, its technology and design, flying into 2060?  

Just think of the politics and public sentiment if a jurisdiction decides the answer is no.  

It could very well cause a domino effect.

 

 

 

 

 

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16 minutes ago, Turbofan said:

Just think of the politics and public sentiment if a jurisdiction decides the answer is no. 

It could very well cause a domino effect.

Just think of the politics and public sentiment if a jurisdiction decides the answer is yes and no other dominoes fall.

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According to  aerospace blogger Jon Ostrower, Boeing is going to recommend full simulator training for all MAX pilots as part of the re-launch. FAA has the final call.

 

From the NY Times

Boeing’s decision stems from its analysis of flight simulator tests of the Max it conducted with airline pilots from United, Aeromexico, American Airlines and Southwest last month, according to a person familiar with the matter. 

In the tests, which were part of the work involved in evaluating the software update, many of the pilots did not use the correct procedures to handle emergencies, instead relying on their flying skills. Those results raised questions about whether simply informing pilots of which procedures to use would be sufficient to prepare them to fly the plane. 

There are currently 34 certified Max flight simulators worldwide, according to a person familiar with the matter. Getting pilots trained in the machines, which are designed to replicate emergency scenarios, will add another hurdle for airlines, who have struggled with mounting losses throughout the Max crisis. 

Airlines may also be able to use the more than 200 737 NG simulators to conduct the training, though it isn’t clear yet whether that is possible.

Edited by dagger
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😉  Yes of course it would fly again.  I guess for me, I always thought this grounding would be temporary.  Never really considered otherwise.  Now I’m beginning to wonder.  I stress the word wonder by the way.

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1 hour ago, Turbofan said:

😉  Yes of course it would fly again.  I guess for me, I always thought this grounding would be temporary.  Never really considered otherwise.  Now I’m beginning to wonder.  I stress the word wonder by the way.

If the DC-10 could survive some horrific accidents, and fly safely for many years thereafter, I believe the MAX can and will. With the DC-10, we had actual images of the Chicago crash that seared the mind of the US travelling public, and vivid survivor accounts of United's famous Flight 232. If I had confidence in the safety of the airline, I'd have confidence in the safety of the plane itself. Clearly, Boeing and the airlines will have to do a good, extended selling job, and some folks will never fly a MAX, although there are going to be instances where they have no choice - fly or stay at home. This plane is likely to come through this extended review process safer than any other plane type in commercial service today.

In fact, you'll be far safer in a MAX or any other commercial aircraft than you are as a pedestrian in one of our major cities. 

Edited by dagger
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2 hours ago, Turbofan said:

Anyone else beginning to wonder if the Max may never return to service?

A grounding like this is unprecedented I think and getting the grounded fleet back into service all at once will probably stress a number of airlines to the limit as they start rehiring and training.  It's also entirely possible that some unforseen maintenance issues may arise or there may be a new operational safety issue that goes unchecked/unaddressed for a while as the fleet rapidly builds hours all at once.  It's not a pretty picture and if, in the middle of all that, there were to be a major accident for any reason within a yr of two of recertification I think you can expect the fleet will then be a write off for passenger airlines. Nobody will step on it again.  I'm surprised there aren't one or two airlines trying to offload them as we speak. 

Edited by Specs
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I'll be interested to see how Air Canada settles with Boeing, and how much it gets. Will it negotiate, or sue?  To date, several airlines have agreed to secret settlement packages, with only dribs or drabs of those deals coming out, such as the AA profit share amount. I'm no lawyer, but Calin is. While Westjet is an all Boeing operator, AC is not, and I'd bet Calin is going to hold that over Boeing like a chain saw. Certain operators carry more weight in this than most because of their size and ability to swing between the two aircraft companies. Non-American airlines will have more leverage than US carriers. If I were Calin, I'd probably present Boeing with enormous demands, and challenge it to meet them or face AC in court. 

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3 hours ago, dagger said:

In fact, you'll be far safer in a MAX or any other commercial aircraft than you are as a pedestrian in one of our major cities. 

I see your point.  Similarly, the safest water to drink in Ontario is in Walkerton.

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4 hours ago, dagger said:

This plane is likely to come through this extended review process safer than any other plane type in commercial service today.

I get the sentiment and the one by Conehead one post above.  I certainly agree that after all the scrutiny the Max will be as safe as it possibly could be.

But the safest plane in commercial service?  I don’t think that is possible.

I will try a different angle. Let’s say Henry Ford was still making the model T.  Could that car really be brought up to today’s standards regardless of intense scrutiny. Sure you could easily add seatbelts.  What about Airbags, crumple zones and back up camera’s?  Realistically speaking a start fresh approach is the only way to add the new technological advances in safety.  

How does Boeing add all the redundancies modern aircraft have to an old platform like the Max. Three versus two hydraulic systems.  Comparator systems that cross reference 3 sources for Airspeed and altitude.  No Rat Air Turbine for electrical/ hydraulic backup.

Can the Max be made safe.  Probably.  Can it be made as safe as modern aircraft with far more robust redundancy?  No.

Under this line of thinking. Are you going to let the model T on the road without airbags just because the model was created before airbags existed?

Again I’m playing the devils advocate here.  But if this line of thinking begins to take hold, it already has in limited quarters, dominos could start falling.  Not saying it will happen.  Just saying I’m starting to wonder.

 

Conehead,

I am not familiar with how Walkerton dealt with the aftermath of the water issue. Did they fix the system in place at the time?  Or did they replace and modernize it because better safer technology existed?

 

 

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