Outgoing executive Keith Cooper has been fired following the disclosure of damning messages.
As Boeing’s ex-vice president for training and professional services, Cooper oversaw pilots believed to be responsible for writing messages that mocked federal laws, talked about deceiving regulators and joked about potential flaws in the once best-selling 737 MAX.
In one message, an unknown pilot said the model, which has been grounded since March after two fatal crashes, had been “designed by clowns, who in turn are supervised by monkeys”.
These prompted concerns among federal lawmakers and regulators that some of Boeing’s employees took a careless attitude toward safety and honest communication with their airline customers.
Speaking to the press in January, Boeing chief executive David Calhoun called the messages “totally appalling”, adding he aims to stamp out such behaviour and hold managers accountable, as reported by The Wall Street Journal.
“Awareness in the leadership ranks around whether that’s happening or not is not an excuse if it’s happening,” Calhoun said. “Disciplinary actions have to be taken.”
Boeing reports no orders in January for first time in nearly 60 years
Adding to a grim January for the manufacturer comes the news Boeing booked no new orders for the month for the first time since 1962.
Boeing, which is continuing to pursue the return to service of its embroiled 737 MAX – grounded since two fatal crashes in March that killed a combined 346 people –, also reported a total of 13 jet deliveries for January.
In 2019, Boeing recorded 45 orders for the same month, delivering 46 jets in that period.
A majority of airline customers are avoiding placing new orders for the 737 MAX until the aircraft is cleared by regulators to fly again, which has seen European competitor Airbus’ orders soar and resulted in regular financial losses for Boeing.
Airbus last week posted its biggest January order haul in around 15 years, booking gross orders for 296 aircraft, or 274 net orders after cancellations.
Despite the deliveries, however, Airbus’ reputation has been called into question. The France-based aircraft manufacturer recently found itself embroiled in serious allegations of bribery, to the tune of US$50 million ($74.3 million), by the United Kingdom’s Serious Fraud Office (SFO).
Southeast Asia forecasted to require 4,500 new airplanes: Boeing
Turning to the future, Boeing has forecast airlines in Southeast Asia, which is fast becoming one of the world’s largest aviation markets, will need 4,500 new airplanes over the next 20 years valued at $710 billion ($1.05 trillion) at list prices.
“Three countries from Southeast Asia – Vietnam, Thailand, and Indonesia – made the top 10 list of countries that added the most airline seat capacity since 2010,” Randy Tinseth, vice president of commercial marketing at Boeing said.
“With an expanding middle-class, in market that continues to liberalize, coupled with a strong domestic, regional and international tourism sector, Southeast Asia has become one of the world’s largest aviation markets.”
Vietnam has experienced the strongest growth out of the three at nearly 15 per cent per year, followed by Thailand and Indonesia at approximately 10 per cent respectively, Tinseth said.
Single-aisle airplanes continue to be the main driver of capacity growth in Southeast Asia. This growth helps to stimulate the demand for commercial aviation services, which are forecast to be worth $785 billion ($1.17 trillion) between 2019 and 2038.
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Featured image: The Boeing 737-Max passenger plane in-flight, before being grounded for safety reasons (iStock.com/Oriaz)