737 MAX 8 Issues: There’s Nothing Boeing Can Say – We Just Have To Wait


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There’s no doubt that Boeing has a big issue on its hands with the rapidly growing perception that all may not be quite right with its 737 MAX 8 aircraft but, right now, all we have is speculation and commentary from (mostly) uninformed sources and people demanding that Boeing makes reassuring noises in the direction of the general public.

I know absolutely nothing about the detailed workings of any aircraft you choose to mention and I have absolutely no idea if the 737 Max 8 is a deathtrap or the safest aircraft ever made so I have no intention of adding to that debate….but there is one thing I would like to address.

Since the tragic crash of Ethiopian flight 302 on Sunday Boeing has been very careful with what it has said in public. So far the only official word from the company has been the following short press release:

Boeing is deeply saddened to learn of the passing of the passengers and crew on Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302, a 737 MAX 8 airplane. We extend our heartfelt sympathies to the families and loved ones of the passengers and crew on board and stand ready to support the Ethiopian Airlines team. A Boeing technical team will be travelling to the crash site to provide technical assistance under the direction of the Ethiopia Accident Investigation Bureau and U.S. National Transportation Safety Board.

Essentially this says nothing and that’s exactly what it is intended to say.

Whether or not Boeing knows or suspects what happened to the aircraft or whether it is in as much darkness as the rest of us the corporation isn’t going to say anything of substance until the air crash investigators have done their work and had their say.

I’ve seen quite a bit of commentary around the web suggesting that Boeing should be coming out and saying more to help dampen the speculation that its 737 MAX 8 is unsafe and that it should be doing more to reassure the public that “safety is its number one priority”.

Why? What good is that going to do? It may placate a few people incapable of independent thought and please a few shareholders but that’s about it.

Boeing is a corporation whose board of directors has a primary responsibility to its shareholders and not to you and I so why would we possibly believe any soothing noises that it comes out with?

Boeing could come out with a 1,000 page statement detailing how the 737 MAX 8 works and how many thousands of man hours have been expended ensuring that it’s the safest aircraft in the world….but what else is it going to say?

It’s hardly likely to say that aircraft “isn’t the best” is it?

Image courtesy of Southwest

At this stage of proceedings the only facts that matter are these:

  1. Two Boeing 737 MAX 8 aircraft have crashed in the past 5 months
  2. No one can tell us why
  3. No one can tell us if the accidents are related or completely unrelated

Words mean absolutely nothing right now so the suggestion that Boeing should be coming out and saying things to calm the masses is both pointless and ridiculous.

It’s like asking a doctor to tell you that everything will be ok before any test results have come back.

The only time Boeing should be making statements is (a) when it has some cold hard facts to share regarding any actual modifications/updates its making to the 737 MAX 8 and (b) when investigators have released findings.

If you’re currently concerned that by flying on a 737 MAX 8 you’re somehow putting yourself in danger there shouldn’t be a single thing (at this stage) that Boeing can come out and say to make that feeling go away.

The 737 MAX 8 may well be the best and safest aircraft ever built but facts count for a lot more than words and facts is what we need right now…not words from corporation with a vested interest in making everything seem fine.

If you’re prepared to believe placating and soothing words from Boeing (a corporation whose livelihood depends on people believing that its aircraft are safe) before you’ve heard some solid facts from independent investigators then you need to take a long hard look at who and what you believe in this world.

If you’re not worried about the 737 MAX 8 that’s great – happy flying – but if you’re unsure about flying in a 737 MAX 8 please don’t be soft-minded enough to allow soothing words from Boeing to make you feel better.

Bottom Line

The issue at play here is that we live in a ‘microwave society’ where everything has to be ready, done or explained right now (or in a few minutes at most) and instant gratification is the only thing that keeps a lot of people happy.

Unfortunately that’s not how life works. Sometimes a little patience is what’s required and before we jump to any conclusions about the safety of the 787 MAX 8 we’re going to have to wait to hear what the investigators from Lion Air 610 and Ethiopian 302 have to say.

Boeing can come out and say whatever it wants to right now but, short of producing any facts corroborated by a truly independent body, there shouldn’t be anyone putting any weight in what the corporation has to say….so can people please stop asking Boeing to soothe the traveling public and make us all feel better?

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