July 20, 2024

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Boeing CEO Dave Calhoun to be Questioned by Senate Panel

2 min read

Senate lawmakers plan to grill Boeing’s chief executive at a hearing on Tuesday about the company’s safety practices in the wake of a harrowing flight in January during which a panel blew out of one of its planes.

In a report published hours ahead of the hearing, the Senate’s Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations accused Boeing of mismanaging parts and cutting quality inspections in recent years.

Boeing’s chief executive, Dave Calhoun, plans to express regret over the flight in January and admit to the subcommittee that the company’s culture is “far from perfect,” according to prepared remarks.

The hearing, scheduled for 2 p.m., will be Mr. Calhoun’s first appearance before Congress since the January flight, which involved a 737 Max 9 plane. Mr. Calhoun, who plans to step down at the end of the year, took over as chief executive in 2019 after two fatal crashes of a smaller version of the jet, the 737 Max 8. Those crashes, in which 346 people died, led to a 20-month global ban on the plane.

Senator Richard Blumenthal, a Democrat of Connecticut who is chairman of the subcommittee, said in a statement that Mr. Calhoun had assured lawmakers that he was the leader Boeing needed to turn the corner after the Max crashes in 2018 and 2019. Mr. Blumenthal said the company had appeared to be heading in the right direction until the January incident in which a “door plug,” which is used to cover an unused emergency exit, was ripped off during an Alaska Airlines flight at an elevation of about 16,000 feet near Portland, Ore. The incident exposed, Mr. Blumenthal said, a number of shortcuts the company had been taking all these years.

“This past January, the facade quite literally blew off the hollow shell that had been Boeing’s promises to the world,” Mr. Blumenthal said. “And once that chasm was exposed, we learned that there was virtually no bottom to the void that lay below.”

In its report, the subcommittee cited several whistle-blowers,…

Mark Walker and Niraj Chokshi

2024-06-18 14:39:33

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