Emirates Airlines CEO on Boeing and Welchism

{{ London CNN —

Tim Clark, the president of Emirates, has joined a chorus of airline executives in warning that Boeing is running out of time to restore its reputation following a series of safety and manufacturing blunders.

In an interview with the Financial Times published Sunday, Clark said he had seen a “progressive decline” in Boeing’s standards, which he put down to long-running management and governance missteps, including prioritizing profit over engineering excellence.

“They’ve got to get their manufacturing processes under review so there are no corners cut etc. I’m sure Dave Calhoun and Stan Deal are on that,” he added, referring to Boeing’s CEO and head of commercial airplanes respectively. “This is the last chance saloon.” }}




As offered before, BA doesn’t care about the commercial market anymore. They aspire to be another Lockheed, because DoD apparently tolerates no end of delays, cost overruns, and shoddy product. That is why BA moved HQ to DC.



I think Boeing is well beyond salvaging any ability to return to a prior state of trust on the part of its customers and the flying public. Today’s news had multiple stories reflecting that Boeing’s sub-contractor found “two additional holes” that were drilled improperly in multiple fusilages of 737 MAX planes undergoing manufacturing. The articles covering this story are not clear on exactly what that meant…

  • “additional holes” in the SAME emergency exit door plug that triggered the Alaska Airlines problem on other planes?
  • “additional holes” located in OTHER areas of the plane, reflecting yet another design / manufacturing problem?

“More of the same” problem would be bad news. “More of a NEW” problem would likely trigger order cancellations and an further cascading of lost business going to Boeing. I think the problem may be distinct from the existing “door plug” problem since the phrasing of the story mentioned something about holes being too close to window assemblies. Of course, the vendor says it’s not a safety issue, just something out of spec that their dilligence caught. I’m not a mechanical engineer or expert in metallurgy but I’m pretty sure locating holes too close to an edge that is subject to high pressures increases the likelihood of the metal between that hole and that edge failing and weakening any connection they are securing.



Much ado about not much.

There have been two plane crashes? Three? And one door blew out.

You want to run around looking for chicken little? Look no further get to a bathroom mirror.

The press eat up such nonsense.

If being off-spec didn’t matter, why did they write the specs?



The press are pulling chains. There are huge standards and safety checks at Boeing. You really think at all there are not? Got to love how a reporter who has never been on the floor of the factory thinks Boeing is lax. That is not true in the least.

So you can meet spec and get bonus? Get quality control pizza party?

Just throwing out ideas

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I’m pretty sure that the additional holes were in the “aft pressure bulkhead” near the tail of the aircraft, and an even more critical component of structural integrity than the door plug that failed on the Alaska Airlines jet. If I was making an airline reservation today, I’d be screening out all the Boeing aircraft on my Kayak search results.


So what? If they fail to catch the mistakes AND get them corrected, then the standards AND checks are useless. I used to order machining work done on castings. We actually did a physical inspection when they were received to catch any obvious errors. I found a few (holes missing) and castings machined totally wrong–even when they were shown samples of the finished part. Ditto for making crankshafts. People do not pay attention. When it costs them $$$, suddenly they get the message.


The extra holes were in the windshields at the front of the plane.

I am sure they do catch mistakes and correct them.

Probably in the glass…

Not the glass!

Seriously in the seals around the windows. Boeing is trying to see how long the glass will stay in place at 32k feet.

Each flight a WaPo reporter goes along in the cockpit.

What? How could that BE ???

For the windshield, you need the proper number of holes … in the proper locations … and you need to use the correct bolts to fasten it, not bolts that “look” the same.


Captains are very subjective when just about every bone in their body is broken outside and on top of the plane.

This is a classic case of a company responding to crisis … and Boeing is failing. When the Tylenol poisoning thing hit, J&J took every single Tylenol product off the shelves . Cost didn’t matter, it was about the public safety. Executives went on television, spoke clearly and honestly about what was being done, and it’s widely recognized as the best response to a corporate crisis, ever. (Lots of others: Deepwater Horizon, Three Mile Island, Wells Fargo phantom accounts scandal, Equifax, Ford Pinto, etc.)

Boeing has suffered two catastrophic crashes, and then grounded the planes only because governments around the world forced them too. They even went so far as to lobby the US government to let them keep flying, but under duress the US, too, fell in line. Whoops! Turns out there was a glaring defect which nobody had told anybody about (Even though Boeing knew) because of Welchism.

Now comes the door blowout, and what happened? Boeing first tried to shift blame to Spirit, its subcontractor, but the FAA investigation reveals it was Boeing which forgot to reinstall the bolts. Speaking of FAA investigation, Boeing didn’t insist carriers stop flying the affected series - the FAA did, and now all those are grounded until they have been inspected. Again.

Boeing has show that it wants to do the very least , rather than put public safety first. It deserves the fate that the market is about to bestow upon it.


Oop, just saw this in today’s WSJ:



I like this one:

Boeing employs more than 12,000 in Renton, Wash., where 737s are assembled. The FAA had eight inspectors assigned to the plant there late last year, up from two in 2018, according to the former government official.

“That’s not enough people to monitor the restaurant operations at the site,” said Ed Pierson, a former senior Boeing [production manager who raised concerns] about quality problems at the 737 factory after the crashes.

Trying to fix the problem with “inspectors” is exactly the wrong way to go about it. You have to change the culture so that every employee is an inspector, and won’t let shoddy work go on to the next station without being corrected. That’s the difference between the American “quality control” and (for instance) the Japanese, and it’s why Japanese cars rank so much higher in fit and finish, maintenance, and all the other metrics after the sale.

But in the short term I guess there’s no option except to put more cops on the beat. It won’t work, but at least it’s something.


Absolutely Goofy! And I believe that culture came from Deming, an American who came up with a new quality control system that American companies ignored but the Japanese embraced. One exception was Harley-Davidson, who used Deming’s techniques to save the company. Perhaps Boeing top brass need to read this book:


iirc, the FAA had historically let BA handle it’s own QC, until the pencil whipping at the 78 plant in South Carolina became apparent. Then the FAA took over the QC job, because BA had proved it could not be trusted, at that plant.

So, a very thin FAA staff at Renton does not surprise me. The FAA people were probably only inspecting the BA inspectors. BA policy has probably been to give the FAA people the mushroom treatment, so the information fed to the FAA people for their QC audits was probably faked.


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