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  • Kristin Roots

Boeing's2024 Safety Crisis and Need for Accountability

Kristin Roots

Imagine you have boarded your flight, settled into your seat and closed your eyes, hoping to get a bit of rest during the two-hour journey ahead. The hum of the engines lulls you into a sense of peace as you drift into a light sleep. But just as you begin to relax, there is a sudden jolt, and the familiar rhythm of the aircraft is disrupted.

 Your eyes snap open to find sheer panic unfolding around you, as a door plug blows out, unleashing a rush of cold air and panic into the aircraft cabin. This surreal experience occurred to passengers on Alaska Airlines flight 282 who were on board the Boeing 737 Max 9 aircraft.

The event, which occurred in early January, unfortunately, erupted into a series of plane mishaps, serving as a glaring reality of what happens when safety protocols fail. The loss of the rear door plugs on the Boeing 737 Max 9 sent concern through the country and aviation community, prompting swift action from regulatory authorities. Alaska Airlines was forced to ground its Boeing 737 Max 9 aircraft, affecting 171 planes overall. Fortunately, there were no serious injuries reported among the 171 passengers and six crew members on board. However, the incident instilled fear among the passengers, many of whom believed they could have died. It has raised questions about the quality control measures employed within Boeing's manufacturing processes.

In response to these challenges, regulatory bodies like the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) have intensified oversight efforts. The FAA conducted audits of Boeing's production lines and suppliers, revealing several issues that require urgent attention.

These audits uncovered systemic problems, including loose bolts and improper maintenance practices, raising concerns about the effectiveness of Boeing's quality assurance processes. Additionally, the FAA hinted at a potential shift away from outsourcing safety analysis work to manufacturers, signaling a recognition of the need for greater transparency and accountability in ensuring aircraft safety.

Yet, beyond regulatory measures, Boeing must take proactive steps to enact meaningful reforms and restore public trust. The company must prioritize a culture of safety, ensuring rigorous quality assurance processes at every stage of aircraft production.

Addressing systemic issues within its supply chain, such as those highlighted by allegations against key suppliers like Spirit AeroSystems, is paramount to preventing future incidents.

Moreover, a culture of transparency and open communication with stakeholders is essential. Boeing must actively engage with airlines, passengers, and regulatory authorities to address concerns and implement corrective actions swiftly. By embracing accountability and learning from past mistakes, Boeing could chart a new course toward being safer and regain the confidence of passengers and industry stakeholders.

However, this will require time and a demonstrated commitment to safety. If the manufacturers who created Boeing cannot be transparent, then they have no business using Boeing aircraft at all.

There was even an issue within Japanese Airlines in which a JAL plane collided with a Coast Guard aircraft at Tokyo’s Haneda airport.

This caused the smaller aircraft to burst into flames, resulting in the death of five crew members. All 379 passengers aboard the JAL plane escaped unharmed. However, these issues with planes are occurring in different parts of the world and must be taken seriously.

As consumers, we must also play a role in advocating for safety and accountability. Prioritizing airlines with proper safety records and holding manufacturers accountable for their actions sends a clear message that safety is non-negotiable.

Together, we can demand greater transparency, stronger oversight and a commitment to ensuring the highest standards of safety in commercial aviation.

While challenges with planes may be inevitable at times, it is our response to these challenges that defines our commitment to safety.


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