Boeing’s outgoing CEO to front US Senate over safety concerns | Aviation

CEO Dave Calhoun’s slated appearance comes after whistleblowers alleged problems in the production of aircraft.

Boeing’s outgoing chief executive will appear at the United States Senate to answer questions about whistleblowers’ claims of safety lapses at the aircraft giant.

CEO Dave Calhoun’s slated appearance on June 18 comes after four whistleblowers told a Senate hearing in April that there were serious problems with the production of the 737 MAX, the 787 Dreamliner and the 777 aircraft.

Senator Richard Blumenthal, who chairs the Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations, said Calhoun’s testimony would be a “necessary step” in addressing Boeing’s failures and regaining public trust.

“Five years ago, Boeing made a promise to overhaul its safety practices and culture. That promise proved empty, and the American people deserve an explanation,” Blumenthal said in a statement on Wednesday.

“Years of putting profits ahead of safety, stock price ahead of quality, and production speed ahead of responsibility has brought Boeing to this moment of reckoning, and its hollow promises can no longer stand,” the senator added.

Boeing said it welcomed the opportunity “to share the actions we have taken, and will continue to take, to strengthen safety and quality and ensure that commercial air travel remains the safest form of transportation”.

“We are committed to fostering a culture of accountability and transparency while upholding the highest standards of safety and quality,” a spokesperson said in a statement.

Boeing has been under intense scrutiny since a near-disaster in January in which a 737 MAX operated by Alaska Airlines lost part of its fuselage mid-flight.

The incident renewed concerns about Boeing’s safety standards that came to the fore following two fatal crashes in 2018 and 2019 that killed 346 people.

The US Justice Department last month accused Boeing of failing to honour the terms of a 2021 agreement that protected the aircraft maker from criminal prosecution over the 737 MAX crashes.

Boeing, which is also facing a criminal investigation into January’s midair blowout, has said it believes it upheld its end of the deferred prosecution agreement.

Calhoun, who was named CEO in 2020, announced in March that he would step down from the company as part of a broad management shake-up at the company.

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