Boeing adopts streamlined safety protocols after 737 Max crashes

A Boeing 737 Max 9 test plane at the Boeing Field in Seattle, Washington on on March 22, 2019.

Stephen Brashear | Getty Images

Boeing on Monday said it would streamline how it addresses safety issues in its aircraft as the manufacturer faces mounting criticism over the fatal crashes of two of its 737 Max planes, which killed 346 people.

Beth Pasztor, a 34-year Boeing employee who most recently was an executive in the safety and compliance department, will lead a new safety group, Boeing said.

Boeing’s board last week recommended the change and a series of others aimed at improving safety culture inside the world’s largest aircraft manufacturer.

The company is facing several investigations about the design of the 737 Max jets, its best-seller. Crash investigators in the two disasters — a Lion Air flight that went down in Indonesia, killing all 189 aboard in October, and an Ethiopian Airlines jet that crashed shortly after takeoff, killing the 157 people on board in March — implicated a flight-control software Boeing added to the jetliners.

Some pilots complained they didn’t even know the system existed until after the first crash. Boeing is now scrambling to provide a software update to regulators, which grounded the jets after the second crash. The Federal Aviation Administration has said it has no set time frame to allow the planes to fly again.

Pasztor will will report to the new Aerospace Safety Committee of the company’s board and Boeing’s chief engineer and oversee Boeing employees who work with the FAA to certify airplanes. Lawmakers have criticized the FAA’s delegation of some certification functions to Boeing.

Boeing CEO Dennis Muilenburg is scheduled to testify in front of a House panel on Oct. 30, his first appearance before lawmakers since the crashes.

“At this defining moment, Boeing must take an expanded leadership role with a heightened focus on safety — and reach even higher,” Muilenburg said in a release.

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