Eight months before the first of the two fatal crashes of Boeing’s 737 MAX aircraft, a company executive told another that they would not put their own family on a plane of that make. Internal communications exchanged by staff members, revealed by the aircraft manufacturer, showed hundreds of messages containing critical comments about the model, Reuters reported on Friday.
The company on Thursday shared the communications with the United States Congressional committees that are investigating the design of the 737 MAX aircraft model. All people on board were killed when two such aircraft crashed in the last 15 months – first, a plane in Indonesia crashed in October 2018, killing 189, followed by another in Ethiopia in March 2019, killing 157. The company grounded the entire 737 MAX fleet four days after the second crash.
According to the communications, an employee asked another in one message on February 8, 2018: “Would you put your family on a MAX simulator trained aircraft? I wouldn’t.” The second employee responded with a no. In another exchange in April 2017, an unnamed employee wrote: “This airplane is designed by clowns who in turn are supervised by monkeys.”
During the approval process for the aircraft in India in 2017, the company’s executives used words such as “fools” and “stupid” for the country’s aviation regulator Directorate General of Civil Aviation, PTI quoted the internal documents as saying.
In one conversation, an executive said how officials of a particular regulator – not the DGCA – were “idiots”. He added: “The DCGA in India is apparently even stupider, if that’s a word. I am drinking obviously.”
The second executive responded: “Sounds about right!”
The United States’ Federal Aviation Administration said the messages do not raise new safety concerns but “the tone and content of some of the language contained in the documents is disappointing”.
Boeing said the communications “do not reflect the company we are and need to be, and they are completely unacceptable”. The company said” “We regret the content of these communications, and apologise to the [Federal Aviation Administration], Congress, our airline customers, and to the flying public for them.”
Boeing India apologised to the DGCA, SpiceJet and to the flying public.