The Boeing disasters: 346 more victims of capitalism
21 March 2019
In the wake of two deadly airplane crashes that have killed 346 people, it has become clear that executives at aerospace giant Boeing repeatedly subordinated basic considerations of safety to profit, aided and abetted by the federal government.
The first disaster occurred on October 29, when a Boeing 737 Max 8 operated by Lion Air crashed thirteen minutes after leaving Jakarta, Indonesia, killing 189 people. That same plane only narrowly averted disaster a day earlier, Bloomberg reported this week, when a third, off-duty pilot who happened to be on the flight, intervened under similar conditions that ultimately caused the crash.
Less than five months later, on March 10, Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302 crashed about six minutes after takeoff from Addis Ababa, killing a further 157 men, women and children.
Beginning on March 11, every country in the world grounded the 737 Max 8, citing overwhelming safety concerns. The United States was the final holdout, but it grounded the aircraft on March 13.
“Boeing, in developing the 737 Max 8, obviously felt intense competitive pressure to get the new aircraft to market as quickly as possible,” wrote Captain ‘Sully’ Sullenberger in a column in MarketWatch this week. Sullenberger is the pilot who safely landed an Airbus A320 on the Hudson River in 2009 and a leading air safety expert.
“When flight testing revealed an issue with meeting the certification standards, the company developed a fix… but did not tell airline pilots about it. In mitigating one risk, Boeing seems to have created another, greater risk,” he wrote.
Sullenberger added, “After the crash of Lion Air 610 last October, it was apparent that this new risk needed to be effectively addressed.” But…