Boeing in Crisis Mode Again!

3 min read

Good gosh, Boeing can’t seem to catch a break!

The Drama: In the fast-paced world of aviation, the recent announcement of Boeing CEO Dave Calhoun stepping down at the end of the year has sparked renewed discussions about accountability and institutional change within the aerospace giant. This decision follows a series of setbacks, notably a midflight incident involving a Boeing 737 that resulted in national attention and economic losses of up to $4.5 billion. When such incidents occur, the public’s demand for accountability is palpable. It goes beyond labeling it as a mere “accident.” People seek answers, accountability, and assurances that measures will be taken to prevent similar emergencies in the future. Here are some key takeaways from this multi-year-long saga:

  • There must be serious accountability policies implemented uniformly across the board for airliner manufacturers.
  • What role is the government actually playing within the market dynamics of the airline industry?
  • How do we balance safety, profitability, and the ever-changing market dynamics in a free-market capitalist environment?


Get Involved: Do you believe that Boeing rightly deserves all of the heat they are currently receiving? Why or why not? Please share your thoughts in the comments below.

Unpacking Accountability:

  • Accountability typically involves thorough investigations to determine the root cause and those responsible. Depending on the findings and the severity of the consequences, individuals may face disciplinary actions, termination, or legal charges. Holding individuals accountable serves as both retribution for their actions and a deterrent against future misconduct.
  • However, the discourse becomes more complex when it shifts towards institutional change. Advocates for increased government oversight often seize upon such incidents to criticize market dynamics, and Boeing’s case is no exception.
  • The blowout incident revealed lapses in Boeing’s manufacturing process, including faulty rivets and improper installation of door plugs. These revelations have cast a spotlight on Boeing’s outsourcing practices and assembly line procedures, particularly the controversial practice of “traveled work.” Critics argue that these practices prioritize cost-cutting measures over quality and safety standards.


On Aviation™ Note: Adding to the growing problem is the fact that Boeing is unable to deliver on many of the orders to airlines, leading to reduced flights and, in some cases, voluntary furloughs of pilots. Ryanair has gone so far as to conduct its own inspections of its Boeing Fleet..

The Role of Government and Market Dynamics:

  • Beyond manufacturing issues, Boeing’s entanglement with government contracts and subsidies has drawn scrutiny. The company’s significant reliance on government contracts for both military and civilian purposes raises questions about accountability and market competition.
  • Boeing’s close relationship with the government extends beyond contracts to include support from state and local governments and interventions to block competitors’ pricing strategies. Critics argue that such interventions distort market dynamics, shielding Boeing from the true consequences of its actions.


On Aviation™ Note: We have long argued that a heavy-handed government approach in any market generally does not turn out well in the long run.

Balancing Safety, Profitability, and Market Dynamics:

  • While safety remains paramount, the aviation industry must also balance profitability and market demands. The pressures to meet production quotas while ensuring safety standards can sometimes lead to compromises, as evidenced by Boeing’s challenges.
  • Calls for halting production until every issue is resolved overlook the complexities of maintaining a robust aviation industry. Such measures could lead to reduced flight availability, increased layovers, and higher ticket prices, ultimately impacting consumers.
  • Critics argue that Boeing’s woes stem not from its participation in the profit-and-loss system but from government interventions that shield it from market forces. The profit-and-loss system, when allowed to function without government interference, incentivizes companies to prioritize safety, quality, and customer satisfaction while maintaining profitability.


On Aviation™ Note: Contrary to mainstream belief, running a business, particularly one in a highly regulated industry, is an extreme balancing act at high altitude.


In conclusion, the fallout from Boeing’s recent challenges underscores the delicate balance between accountability, institutional change, and market dynamics in the aviation industry. While accountability measures are essential to address individual failures, addressing systemic issues requires a nuanced approach that considers the role of government interventions and the profit-and-loss system. Ultimately, ensuring the safety, affordability, and efficiency of air travel requires collaboration among stakeholders to navigate these complexities effectively.

Thank you for reading this week’s On Aviation™ full article. Do you believe that Boeing rightly deserves all of the heat they are currently receiving? Why or why not? Please share your thoughts in the comments below. Remember to check out our On Aviation™ Podcast and continue the conversation on our Twitter and Instagram.

Orlando – On Aviation™

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