Senators Interrogate Boeing CEO About Corporate Culture And Safety Issues

( — On Tuesday June 18, Boeing CEO David Calhoun testified in a Congressional hearing regarding his company’s safety culture and practices. He was also there to answer questions about the accusations of retaliation against whistleblowers who reported safety issues.

Focus was split, however, as families of those who died in the 2018 and 2019 Boeing 737 crashes were present. Before his testimony, Calhoun turned and apologized to the families on behalf of his company. He added that Boeing has committed to work on safety in their memory.

Some of the family members of those who were killed on those deadly flights said they were unimpressed by Calhoun’s apology. One said that Calhoun avoided eye contact and seemed to be in haste to depart as soon as the hearing was concluded. Clariss Moore’s daughter, Danielle Moore, died in the 2019 Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302 crash, and she travelled from Toronto, Canada, to be present. She said she called out to him but was ignored. She seemed stunned at Calhoun’s high salary of $33 million.

The family of John Barnett, the former Boeing engineer and whistle-blower who killed himself earlier this year, were also present at the hearing. There have been several whistle-blowers who have come forward with allegations about the company’s operations and corporate culture. In response to a query by Committee chairman Richard Blumenthal regarding Boeing’s “broken safety culture” Calhoun said that he had listened to the whistle-blowers. He admitted that while he had not spoken to any of them personally, he knew there had been company retaliation against several of them.

Calhoun claims that Boeing has been working to improve its approach to safety, engineering, and quality since the 2018 and 2019 crashes. He also pointed to their acquisition of Spirit AeroSystems, which makes the bodies of the 737 Max jet, as part of their revived dedication to quality oversight. For some, it is too late, like Catherine Berthet, whose daughter Camille died in one of the plane crashes. She asserts that they have had years to improve their safety process but have done nothing. Berthet says Boeing has been getting away with murder, but now they must be held accountable.

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