Boeing’s nightmare continues as company reports $355m losses after litany of plane safety issues

Embattled aviation giant Boeing is grappling with yet another issue as it reported $355m losses in the first quarter of 2024 – coming off the back of a growing litany of concerns about the safety of its aircrafts.

According to quarterly results published on Wednesday, the company’s revenue declined by eight per cent year-over-year to $16.6bn.

This marks the seventh consecutive quarterly loss for the aerospace company, as it faces damaging whistleblower complaints, congressional hearings and major safety fears about its 737 Max 9 planes planes after a door blew off mid-flight.

“Our first quarter results reflect the immediate actions we’ve taken to slow down 737 production to drive improvements in quality,” Boeing President and Chief Executive Dave Calhoun said.

Despite the sharp decline, the results were actually better than analysts had predicted.

Boeing has fallen under increased scrutiny since a door panel on a 737 Max 9 blew off during an Alaska Airlines flight in January.

Several passengers on board were injured in the incident, which grounded all Boeing 737 Max 9s and prompted investigations by the FAA and the National Transportation Safety Board into the aircraft manufacturer and Spirit AeroSystems, which made the door plug.

Reports released since have suggested the plane did not have the critical bolts it needed to keep the door plug in place when it left the factory.

Photo released by the National Transportation Safety Board shows a gaping hole where the paneled-over door fell off Boeing plane mid-flight in January (via REUTERS)

Following the incident, Alaska Airlines and United Airlines, which operate 79 of the planes, said they, too, found loose bolts on some of their aircraft – while three of the passengers on board the flight filed a lawsuit against Boeing for $1bn.

The complaint, filed on 20 February, alleged that the aircraft manufacturer’s negligence caused the incident in early January.

Meanwhile, the company is also facing pressure from the families of the victims of two fatal Boeing 737 MAX crashes in 2018 and 2019, who are set to press Justice Department officials on Wednesday to criminally prosecute Boeing.

In March, the Federal Aviation Authority said that Boeing had failed to meet quality control standards during manufacturing, while another report raised concerns about staff being comfortable in reporting safety issues.

“Boeing must commit to real and profound improvements,” said FAA administrator Michael Whitaker. “Making foundational change will require a sustained effort from Boeing’s leadership, and we are going to hold them accountable every step of the way.”

The FAA has also barred the company from increasing its output.

Mr Calhoun has said that the company “will develop the comprehensive action plan with measurable criteria that demonstrates the profound change that Administrator Whitaker and the FAA demand”.

Mr Calhoun announced in March that he is resigning from his role as CEO at the end of the year. Boeing’s chief of commercial airlines Stan Deal has already stepped down.

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